Why is Jupiter not a star or a brown dwarf?

From the August 2023 challenge

Though probably the most large planet in our photo voltaic system, Jupiter doesn’t include sufficient materials to ignite fusion.

Though 318 instances extra large than Earth, Jupiter would want 80 instances extra mass for its core to be sizzling sufficient to maintain thermonuclear fusion — the creation of helium from 4 atoms of hydrogen with the discharge of power. Fusion generates the power that enables stars to shine.

Brown dwarfs usually are not large sufficient to maintain fusion, both. These “failed stars,” nevertheless, kind totally from interstellar gasoline. Planets, alternatively, assemble from the mud and gasoline of the remnant disk that varieties whereas the star is accreting matter. The 2 lessons could in actual fact overlap — as of now, we have no idea.

James B. Kaler
College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(July 1997 challenge)

Moreover: At present, the Worldwide Astronomical Union locations the dividing line between brown dwarfs and planets at 13 Jupiter plenty. That is the minimal mass required to ignite deuterium fusion. (Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen.)

Alison Klesman
Senior Editor


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *