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Heavy-metal Jupiters

30 Jun 2020, 18:22 UTC
Heavy-metal Jupiters
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Title: Heavy-metal Jupiters by major mergers: metallicity vs. mass for giant planetsAuthors: Sivan Ginzburg, Eugene ChiangFirst Author’s Institution: Department of Astronomy, University of California, BerkeleyStatus: Submitted to MNRAS, preprint on arxivSounding like something straight out of the UK music scene in the late 70’s, complete with long flowing hair, face-melting guitar solos and amps that go all the way to 11, ‘heavy-metal’ Jupiters are the result of a violent formation history for some gas giants.
What’s in a Jupiter?We know that gas giants are composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, with only a small fraction of ‘everything else’ that astronomers like to call ‘heavy metals’. Although it’s impossible to actually peer into the interior of a gas giant to confirm this idea, the picture of a small, dense core with an extended gaseous envelope seems to help fit quite a few puzzle pieces together. A popular formation model for gas giants, called the core accretion scenario, predicts that a proto-Jupiter will not start to accumulate gas until a solid core of roughly 10 Earth masses forms. Furthermore, once the gas accretion process starts, it becomes difficult for additional solids to accumulate. The core accretion idea predicts, most importantly, that ...

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