#astronomy Why is Jupiter not a Star?! – Astronotes

April 17, 2021 - Comment

Easy reply is Jupiter doesn’t have sufficient mass to fuse hydrogen into helium.  However you didn’t come right here for the straightforward reply!  This means of turning hydrogen into helium is called nuclear fusion and it’s the vitality supply that powers the solar and most different stars. What drives nuclear fusion? For nuclei to fuse, they should be introduced


Easy reply is Jupiter doesn’t have sufficient mass to fuse hydrogen into helium. 

However you didn’t come right here for the straightforward reply! 

This means of turning hydrogen into helium is called nuclear fusion and it’s the vitality supply that powers the solar and most different stars. What drives nuclear fusion? For nuclei to fuse, they should be introduced collectively at extremely excessive temperatures and pressures. A celestial physique must have sufficient mass to offer excessive temperatures and pressures like this. To place Jupiter’s mass into context, our solar is an instance of a typical star and Jupiter’s mass is one thousandth the mass of our solar. In different phrases, to show Jupiter right into a star just like the solar, you would need to add about 1,000 instances the mass of Jupiter! 

The place does the Solar’s vitality come from? Info poster from NASA 

However what about low mass stars? 

Low mass stars are low in mass when it comes to stars! For instance, OGLE-TR-122b weighs one-eleventh of the mass of the Solar; it’s only 16% bigger than Jupiter however it’s nonetheless 96 instances as huge as this large planet! Low mass stars are very attention-grabbing as a result of their interiors have a lot in frequent with gasoline giants however as we are able to see all of it comes again to mass. 

Comparability between the newly discovered low-mass star OGLE-TR-122b and the Solar and Jupiter. OGLE-TR-122b, whereas nonetheless 96 instances as huge as Jupiter, is simply 16% bigger than this large planet. It weighs 1/11th the mass of the Solar and has 1/eighth of its diameter. Credit score: ESO

Why is Jupiter generally generally known as a failed star? 

Though Jupiter has an extended technique to go when it comes to mass, it does have some attention-grabbing similarities with our Solar. The 2 objects are very compositionally related. By mass, the Solar is 71% hydrogen and 27 % helium with traces of different parts and Jupiter is about 73 % hydrogen and 27% helium. If we’re to have a look at composition solely, our native star and the largest planet in our photo voltaic system are nearly equivalent! It is because of this that Jupiter is usually referred to as a failed star. 

Stars and planets are created in two very other ways. In a nutshell, stars are shaped from huge clouds of mud and gasoline referred to as nebulae. Because the mass grows, the core of the infant star is squeezed tight collectively and grows extremely popular. It turns into so compressed and scorching, the core ignites, and the method of nuclear fusion begins. Gravity pulls smaller quantities of mud and gasoline collectively and this types planets across the star. So, Jupiter has an identical composition to the Solar not as a result of it was a failed star however as a result of it was born from the identical cloud of gasoline that gave delivery to the Solar. 

The Solar: NASA

Jupiter. Credit score: NASA/ESA



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