cool idea, Fun Facts About Jupiter!
Formation: You are only partially correct when you say that Jupiter is a nearly failed star. It is a little misleading to say that Jupiter is a failed star because the majority of astronomers believe it formed very differently than the sun. This model of formation is known as the NICE Model (depiction below). Simply put, the NICE Model theorizes that planets formed after the sun in stages. The terrestrial planets formed first, and then the gas giants. The orbiting bodies formed from the accumulation of derbies from the sun’s proto-planetary gas disk:
It is generally though that Jupiter formed in a 2-step process, first with solid matter at the time when the terrestrial planets were forming. When the mass of proto-jupiter became about 10x that of earth, then it’s mass was great enough to begin the second stage of its planetary formation. During this second stage Jupiter gained about 318x the mass of earth very quickly. This quick increase in mass is what solidified Jupiter’s position as the “king” of the planets. (artists concept of young Jupiter):
A Failed Star? (partially correct): When people refer to Jupiter as being a failed star they are most likely referring to the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism that we observe in Jupiter. Astronomers use this same mechanism to explain the immense pressure found in the sun. The Mechanism “occurs when the surface of a star or a planet cools. The cooling causes the pressure to drop, and the star or planet shrinks as a result. This compression, in turn, heats up the core of the star/planet.”. This is why Jupiter is “like” a failed star, in fact Jupiter generates more energy through this mechanism than it gets from the sun. However, It simply never had enough mass to begin fussing atoms in and around its core. (this image depicts the balance of pressure that can lead to a heated core & potentially fusion & it’s from my university’s Astrophysics Department!):
Gas Giant? - wrong - Liquid and Metallic Giant: It is a bit of a misnomer that we call the outer planets Gas Giants, when they contain significantly more liquids and metallic-states than gasses. The Only portion of the surface atmosphere is gas, and most of Jupiter is Liquid Metallic Hydrogen and Liquid Molecular Hydrogen. This image shows a breakdown of the interior of the Gas (Liquid) Giants:
Another Nice model of the layering of Jupiter:
The Great Red Spot: Everyone loves the Great Red Spot, So I thought I’d at least mention it. I mean, check out this image taken by the Voyager 1 space craft. 3 earths can fit inside this thing. As far as we know this spot has been here for hundreds of years, or even sense the planet formed. Jupiter’s atmosphere is a complex place and it takes some heavy computing to run simulations to test theories about it. The thought is, the better we understand Jupiter’s Atmosphere (the most complex one that we know of), the better we can understand our own.
And I’ll end with this .gif of the voyager one spacecraft on it’s approach to Jupiter. At the time, this was the farthest humans had ever gone. This was the first time we began to fully explore or solar system. We were taking our first big steps away from home.
Credit: (NICE Model), NASA, Voyager 1, Scientific American, UT Astrophysics - Liquid, UGA Physics and Astronomy,