Of the 8 planets in the solar system, Jupiter is considered the largest. In addition, a large-scale system of 79 satellites rotates around the giant, which is why it was called the “miniature system”. There is also an assumption that Jupiter did not have enough mass to become a star. But is it?
Do not blow up Jupiter!
On December 11, 2016, Juno's apparatus captured this view of a distance of 458,800 km during the period of the third closest span. The processed image by Roman Tkachenko clearly conveys the crescent of the planet and the Great Red Spot. You can also see a whole chain of bright storms in the form of ovals - “Pearl thread”. The mission is part of the New Frontier project and is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Since 1995, scientists have been able to observe the planet with the help of the Galileo spacecraft, which is located in the orbit of a gas giant. The ship provided a wealth of valuable data, but its life came to an end. The satellites of the planet provide value as places to search for life or create a colony. In order not to infect their environment with terrestrial bacteria, in 2003 the device was sent to the planet.
But for many earthlings this decision caused a real panic. The spacecraft was driven by a plutonium thermal reactor. The fact is that plutonium is used in the mechanism for detonating hydrogen bombs, and the atmospheric layer is literally teeming with hydrogen. People felt that such a collision would create an explosion that would “ignite” the planet and transform this giant gas ball into a dangerous star. But there was no reason to panic, because the planet is devoid of water and hydrogen (extremely insignificant quantities) that support the combustion mechanism.
Not everyone will be a star
The theoretical size of the smallest star
There are two factors that use Jupiter’s stellar transformation as evidence: mass and composition. This is really a massive world filled with helium and hydrogen. By this, it resembles stars, but it lacks massiveness to create a sufficiently high pressure and temperature, which activate fusion reactions.
Despite its size, the massiveness of Jupiter reaches only 0.1% of the sun. Where did the starry myth come from? The bottom line is that one of the smallest red dwarfs is 80 times bigger than Jupiter. Therefore, many people think that if we add 79 more Jupiters, we immediately get a star.
There are also brown dwarfs, which are 13 times more massive than Jupiter. That they should be called the failed stars, because the massiveness is not enough for the fusion reaction in the core. However, our planet is not destined to take this role. It's all about the process of formation.
Doomed to a planetary role
Comparative size of Jupiter and some types of stars
Just get used to the idea that Jupiter does not become a star. So, no threat of an explosion can be expected. The recipe for the birth of a star needs a large cloud of gas and dust. Under the action of gravity, the elements merge, the cloud increases the density and starts the rotation.
Circular motion creates a disk shape, compressing the dust even more. While the central part is compressed into a dense star, the rest of the disk area is allotted to planetesimals. When an object is 10 times larger than the earth’s, it attracts gas that is covered with a shell.
What if ...
Comparative sizes of the smallest types of stars and Jupiter
Well, let's imagine that somehow Jupiter still managed to turn into a star. When taking into account the current mass of the planet, it should still be a tiny star. Under the conditions of transformation, Jupiter would be 20% larger than its current size. Its density and brightness also increased, but not significantly. He would have eclipsed the earth's moon, but had no effect on people's lives.
Although some scientists believe that the multiplication of Jupiter’s massiveness by 80 times (even under planetary conditions) may affect the orbital paths of neighboring planets. But this is only a theory that it makes no sense to check, because the planet just does not gain massiveness.
Jupiter does not become a star, but there is one interesting theory. Stars usually exist in pairs. It is believed that our Sun also appeared with a neighbor who was destroyed or moved to a more distant orbit. But there is an idea that the Sun-2 was always under our nose. This is Jupiter, which did not have time to gain massiveness, since the main star in the center dragged most of the elements onto itself. However, this is just a theory that has few followers. What do you think?