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Jupiter’s Head-On Collision

An artist's impression of a collision between Jupiter and a large, ancient planetoid that would have...
An artist’s impression of a collision between Jupiter and a large, ancient planetoid that would have disrupted its core(Credit: K. Suda & Y. Akimoto/Mabuchi Design Office/Astrobiology Center, Japan)

Jupiter is a gigantic ball of churning gas clouds, and that makes it hard to see what’s in the middle. It’s believed to be a relatively small, rocky core, but data from the Juno probe found that it’s less dense and more spread out than expected. Now, astronomers believe they have an answer – a huge ancient planet, with 10 times the mass of Earth, crashed into the gas giant in the early days of the solar system. read more