Scientists offer a new explanation for the mystery surrounding the two giant planets, Jupiter

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An international team of scientists, including NYU Abu Dhabi researcher Nikolaos Georgakarakos and others from the US, Japan and China, led by Jian Li of Nanjing University, has developed new insights that may explain the numerical variation of the L4 Trojan and L5 Jupiter Trojan swarms, two clusters containing more than 10,000. An asteroid moving along the orbital path of Jupiter around the Sun.

For decades, scientists have known that there are many more asteroids in the L4 swarm than in the L5 swarm, but they haven’t fully understood the reason for this discrepancy. In the current configuration of the solar system, the two swarms exhibit nearly identical dynamic stability and survival properties, leading scientists to believe that the differences occurred during earlier periods of our solar system’s life. Determining the cause of these differences could reveal new details about the formation and evolution of the solar system.

In the paper, “Asymmetry in the Number of L4 and L5 Jupiter Trojans Driven by Jupiter Leaping” published in the journal Astronomy and astrophysicsThe researchers presented a mechanism that could explain the observed number asymmetry.

“We propose that the rapid outward migration of Jupiter – in terms of its distance to the sun – could distort the composition of the Trojan swarms, leading to more stable orbits in the L4 swarm than in the L5 orbits,” Li said.

“This mechanism, which temporarily induced different evolution trajectories for the two groups of asteroids that share Jupiter’s orbit, provides a new and natural explanation for the unbiased observation that the L4 asteroids are about 1.6 times more numerous than the asteroids in the L5 swarm.”

The model simulates the orbital evolution of Jupiter, caused by planetary orbital instability in the early solar system. This caused Jupiter to migrate outward at a very high speed; The migration, which the researchers hypothesized was the likely cause of changes in the stability of nearby asteroid swarms. Future models could expand on this work by including additional aspects of the solar system’s evolution, which they could depict with improved resolution. This could include simulating rapid migrations of Jupiter at different speeds, and the impacts of nearby planets.

“The characteristics of the present solar system hold unsolved mysteries in its formation and early evolution,” Georgakarakos said.

“The ability to successfully simulate an event from an early stage in the evolution of the solar system and apply these findings to modern-day questions could also be a key tool as astrophysicists and other researchers work to learn more about the dawning of our universe.”

more information:
Jian Li et al., Asymmetry in the Number of L4 and L5 Jupiter Trojans Driven by Leaping Jupiter, Astronomy and astrophysics (2022). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202244443

Provided by New York University

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