Jupiter may have formed in a shadow that kept the planet’s birthplace colder than Pluto. The frigid temperature could explain the giant world’s unusual abundance of certain gases, a new study suggests.
Jupiter consists mostly of hydrogen and helium, which were the most common elements in the planet-spawning disk that spun around the newborn sun. Other elements that were gases near Jupiter’s birthplace became part of the planet, too, but in only the same proportions as they existed in the protoplanetary disk (SN: 6/12/17).
Astronomers think the sun’s composition of elements largely reflects that of the protoplanetary disk, so Jupiter’s should resemble that solar makeup — at least for
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