December 19, 2011
Is Jupiter Eating Its Own Heart?
Ken Croswell, Science Now
Jupiter is the victim of its own success. Sophisticated new calculations indicate that our solar system's largest planet, which weighs more than twice as much as all of the others put together, has destroyed part of its central core. Ironically, the culprit is the very hydrogen and helium that made Jupiter a gas giant, when the core's gravity attracted these elements as the planet formed. The finding suggests that the most massive extrasolar planets have no cores at all.