What is the Age Difference Between Earth & Jupiter?

What is the Age Difference Between Earth & Jupiter?

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What is the age difference between Jupiter & Earth?

Which planet was formed first, or were they formed at the same time?

It is generally thought that Jupiter "formed" first via the core accretion process. An icy core forms first and then sweeps up the gas around it. This process is generally thought to take from a few million to ten million years. After that, the solar system gas was dissipated and Jupiter was basically as it is today, but larger and hotter.

Earth formed on a longer timescale in the maelstrom of rocky planetesimals that made up the inner solar system. An essential part of the process was the collision that formed the moon, which probably occurred between 30 and 60 million years after the protosun began to form. Further heavy bombardment of the Earth that may have significantly changed its surface and atmosphere continued for some tens of millions of years after that.

The wikipedia page on planet formation in the solar system looks ok to me I may add some more academic references subsequently.

Difference Between Earth and Jupiter

Earth vs Jupiter

Earth and Jupiter are two very different planets. Foremost, earth is dubbed as the third rock from the sun while Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun. Although both are part of the solar system, earth is a more solid and rock-like while Jupiter is a gas planet. It is even dubbed as the biggest gas planet in the system.

Being the biggest planet in the solar system, Jupiter has more than ten times the diameter of planet earth. In terms of mass, it is 300 times heavier. Moreover, Jupiter has 100 times more surface area than earth. It also has 1,000 times greater volume than the latter.

Jupiter has a unique ‘great red spot’ that is actually a constantly occurring storm whose size can easily engulf earth itself. The natural harsh environment at Jupiter makes it less likely to support life. Another reason for Jupiter being a place that’s unfriendly to life is because its atmosphere is not rich in Oxygen like earth rather it is filled with Helium and Hydrogen. Aside from Oxygen, earth’s atmosphere on the contrary has lots of Nitrogen.

But if ever you happen to set foot on the planet Jupiter, you will weigh more than twice as much because Jupiter’s gravity is a little over twice than earth’s natural equatorial surface gravity. Specifically, Jupiter has about 20.87 m/s2 gravity while earth only has 9.766 m/s2. In practical application, if you weight 180 pounds on planet earth then expect yourself to feel 426 pounds at the cloud surface of the giant gas planet.

If you use the 24 hour day system here on earth, a typical day at Jupiter is faster ‘“ only worth about 10 hours. There are also 4 natural satellites in Jupiter compared to earth’s lone satellite. The four Galilean satellites (named as such because the planet was first monitored by Galileo) are called Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These moons are already very large themselves that they are comparable in size to the smallest planets in the solar system. Thus, they are worlds in their own right.

1. Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system which is 10 times bigger in diameter compared to earth. It is also 300 times heavier.

Jupiter and Saturn about to do something not seen since the year 1226

I saw this and thought: “Wait! What happened about 800 years ago”? The beginning of the Little Ice age? Not exactly, but there was a cool-down from the Medieval Warm period before the Little Ice Age swung into full swing.

When the two largest planets locate in a similar plane, then the center of mass of the Sun changes, possibly causing less Sunspots and lower output.

The same occurs with the Earth. We will have to see if these changes cause more earthquakes or volcano action.

Of course, the gravitational forces may elongate the Earths path around the Sun during our winter season. Could this be part of the early snow and cold? Or is it a combination of other factors?

We will see if the Sun continues low numbers of Sunspots as well.

** ** **
This is the article I saw:

Jupiter and Saturn are about to do something not seen for nearly 800 years

The two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, have fascinated astronomers for hundreds of years. But the two gas giants will do something next month not seen since the Middle Ages — they will look like a double planet.

The rare occurrence will happen after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020, the start of the winter solstice.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said Rice University astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a statement. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

Note: I mention these alignments in Not by Fire but by Ice.

6 thoughts on &ldquoJupiter and Saturn about to do something not seen since the year 1226&rdquo

Well they will have more effect then CO/2 for sure

Thanks, Robert. Perfect addition to the article. Of course, the following drives it home:

“As if that weren’t enough, multiply the 1440-year cycle by eight, and you come up with 11,520, which is suspiciously close to the 11,500-year ice-age cycle.”

“So here we sit. The next beat of the 179-year solar retrograde cycle is due. The next beat of the 360-year Little Ice Age cycle is due. The next beat of the 1440-year ice-age cycle is due. The next beat of the 11,500-year ice-age cycle is due. The next beat of the 100,000-year ice-age cycle is due . . . and we’re worried about global warming?”

While Biden states “We must unite the nation”. I don’t know about others, but I for one will not unite behind their “New Green Swindle”! I plan to use the same environmental laws and values against it.
Every time they plan a solar system, they butcher the land, destroy the habitat, and harm/kill wildlife. I wish I had a boat, for I would get in the way of the ocean construction of those “Statues of Stupidity” (Wind machines) like Greenpeace does to whaling boats. Unfortunately, I’m only one person, so protesting won’t make a big difference. If I were an oil executive, I would be funding protests against the “Green Swindle”, for “They” want to kill off your business and even have executives jailed!
Of course, if they get away with spending the estimated $100 Trillion, then “We the People” will become slaves to the government!

There has certainly NOT been early snow in Europe this year. If you look at the snow reports for alpine ski resorts, there is a very distinct LACK of early season snow. There was one event early on with snow down to 1200-1500m, but that has long since melted below 2000m.

The early snow in the Pacific NW is more likely due to La Nina than this particular event, although with events as rare as this, data to compare to is singularly lacking.

All I suggest people do is make a detailed documentation of what happens during this alignment, so that descendants in another 800 years have something to compare to….

Well, here in switzerland we had quite a lot of early snow in november, even october, and we have right now heavy snowfall even in the lowlands (yes, there are a few flat places even here) which is rather speacial so early in december…

This is a fascinating observation. It’s all about cycles and this one will be interesting to observe and unwind in the future.
I purchased Not By Fire But But By Ice when it first came out. It changed my perspective on climate and weather. Broadened my thinking and has been with me since. Thank you for writing it!

Thanks, but the credit should go to Robert, for I know he had the solar retrograde posted a long time ago. That’s why it was rattling around in my head when I saw the headline of Saturn and Jupiter.

Temperatures have been FALLING
for 8,000 years

* * *

I receive no funding from any company, corporation, or organization.
Thanks, Robert


Video of my talk at grand
opening of the Portland
Preparedness Center


Temperatures warmer than today during most of the past 10,000 years
* * *

Anyone who says we’re enduring “unprecedented global warming”
is lying or woefully misinformed


* * *
“We are heading back into the lowest solar activity in at least 400 years,” says David DuByne in this eye-opening eBook. Click on image to learn how the Solar Minimum will affect society, economy and food prices. ORDER CLIMATE REVOLUTION NOW
* * * Warmer than today during most of
the past 10,000 years

Temperatures have been FALLING
for 8,000 years

I receive no funding from any company,
corporation, or organization.
Thanks, Robert

Good news!
A publisher in Italy has translated
Not by Fire but by Ice into Italian.

Astronomy: The Scientific Age

If you were able to go about 500 years back in time and asked somebody to describe the Universe, the response you would get would be very different to the response you would get if you were to ask somebody the same question today. Back then, people believed that Earth was at the centre of the Universe. Spinning around it were the Moon, the Sun and five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. At a greater distance were the stars, orbiting at a fixed point beyond the orbit of Saturn. To explain the sometimes strange movement of the planets (they sometimes appear to go backwards), it was believed that they orbited Earth in circles known as epicircles. The diagram to the left shows what people believed the Universe to look like hundreds of years ago. At that time, people also didn't know that the planets Uranus and Neptune existed. They didn't know about the Asteroid Belt in between Mars and Jupiter, or the existence of small worlds like Ceres and Pluto. They also didn't know that other planets had moons orbiting them. Comets, strange objects which appeared to make random appearances, were a mystery and were often seen as a sign that a notable event was going to occur.

This old model of the Universe had been believed to be correct for hundreds of years. It appeared to make sense and most people had no reason to question it. However, to some people, certain things didn't add up. Mainly, the way planets orbited, even though the "epicircle" explanation suited most curious minds, still didn't make sense. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543), a Polish mathematician and astronomer, was one such person who was puzzled by the way the Universe looked. His simple solution was to put the Sun at the centre of everything, and not Earth. He believed that Earth was actually a planet like the other five, orbiting the Sun. The only object to orbit Earth was the Moon. The idea of a sun-centred system, or a solar system, had been proposed by Muslim astronomers many years earlier, but never really followed up. Copernicus spent years studying the planets, and put down his ideas in the book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). However, he refused to publish this book until he knew it was completely right. Another reason for delaying its publication was because he probably knew the chaos it would cause. Not only would it be difficult to tell everybody that everything they have believed to be true for hundreds of years is actually wrong, it would offend many people, most notably other scientists and religious leaders. With both groups of people, by putting the Sun at the centre of the Solar System, Copernicus was contradicting what they taught. In Copernicus' time, the Catholic Church was extremely powerful in Europe. The model of the Universe that had been believed for hundreds of years fitted in well with the teachings of the Church. The celestial objects (the Moon, the Sun and the planets) were all perfectly formed spheres that travelled in perfectly circular orbits around a perfectly formed Earth. This perfect system could only have been created by God, so claiming that it was wrong could be seen as questioning the teachings of the Bible and only a brave (or stupid) person would have done that. Copernicus' book was finally published in 1543. It is rumoured that the first copy was presented to him on his death bed and that he witnessed the publication of his life's work just before dying.

Despite its publication, Copernicus' book didn't initially really have much of an effect on the minds of most people. However, another great astronomer was about to make his mark, and it is Copernicus' theories that he tried to prove. Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) was an Italian astronomer who was one of the first to take advantage of the technology of the time. The telescope was a new Dutch invention from 1608 which could be used to look further into space. Previous to the telescope, the universe was viewed with the naked eye. Galilei built his first telescope in 1609 and with it - and other telescopes he built later in his life - he was able to look closer at the objects in the sky. He made several discoveries which contradicted both religious and scientific teachings and backed up Copernicus' theory of a Sun-centred system. Below are some of Galilei's main discoveries, and what their discoveries implied:

    The Moon has craters and mountains. Religious leaders taught that the Moon was a perfectly formed sphere. The fact it had craters and mountains meant that it wasn't perfect.

Something that must be noted is that neither Copernicus or Galilei set out to oppose religious beliefs. They were both deeply religious people and were careful to emphasise that what they had discovered and were proposing was not a dismissal of their faith. However, not everybody accepted this. Copernicus' book was banned and many scientists and philosophers simply refused to believe that Galilei had made the discoveries that he claimed to have made. Galilei was put on trial in 1632 at the Holy Office in Rome and was found guilty of heresy. He was placed under house arrest and spent the rest of his life restricted in want he could say and do.

As time went by and more and more astronomers used telescopes to look into the night skies, the evidence began to pile up that the Sun, not Earth, had to be at the centre of the Solar System. Saturn's largest moon Titan was discovered in 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, with more moons of Saturn getting discovered later in the century. Scientific evidence began to overrule religious teachings, and it gradually became accepted that the universe was much more complex (and interesting!) than previously imagined. Maps of the Moon were created, polar regions on Mars were observed, and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter was first spotted. Copernicus' book was eventually removed from the Vatican's list of banned books in 1758.

As telescopes became more powerful and were able to look even deeper into space, new worlds were discovered to be present in the Solar System. The first of these worlds, and therefore the first planet to have ever been discovered, was Uranus. It was found in 1781 by English astronomer, Sir William Herschel. He also found two of Uranus' moons in 1787 (Titania and Oberon, which were named in 1852 by his son, John Herschel, in addition to the moons Ariel and Umbriel, found in 1851 by William Lassell, another English astronomer). The presence of Uranus led people to believe that there may be even more planets in the Solar System. Ceres was found in the region now known as the Asteroid Belt (between Mars and Jupiter) in 1801 by Italian astonomer Guiseppe Piazzi. He originally thought he had found a comet, but its movement suggested otherwise. Ceres was originally classified as a planet, but was reclassified as an asteroid when several other similar objects were found in the same region. It was again reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. Astronomers observing Uranus noticed there was something strange about its orbit, as if something was pulling it outwards. The kind of effect could be caused by the gravity of a planet even more distant than Uranus. Mathematicians got to work doing maths and predicted the location of this planet. It was eventually spotted in 1846 by German astronomer Johann Gotfried Galle and became known as Neptune. Shortly afterwards, William Lassell observed a moon orbiting Neptune, which became known as Triton. Although Galle is credited as the discoverer of Neptune, Galileo Galilei actually spotted the planet over two hundred years earlier, but recorded it as a dim star!

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, astronomers used their telescopes to look closer at one of Earth's neighbours - Mars. Although the red planet had been observed for thousands of years, it was at this time that astronomers were able to look closer at the planet and to try to learn more about what the planet is actually like. They were able to observe Mars' polar regions, noticing that the area taken up by them changed in size depending on the season. They observed what they thought was vegetation on the planet. Some astronomers also claimed to have observed canals on Mars, believing them to have been built by civilised beings to transport water from the poles to dryer regions of the planet. The fact that Mars appeared quite Earth-like and seemed to have artificially created structures led to many people accepting that there is life on the planet. Inspired by this, authors began to write science fiction books with one of the most famous early examples being The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells which told of an invasion of Earth by the Martians.

The modern era of astronomy began in the twentieth century. Photography, electricity, rocket power and satellite technology would go on to change the way people observed the Universe forever, enabling them to make even more discoveries and uncover more mysteries about the many objects in space.

Jupiter’s Lightning Is More Earth-Like Than We Thought

When the Voyager 1 swung by Jupiter in 1979, scientists got their first glimpse of lightning on the solar system’s biggest planet. The spacecraft not only snapped a photo of a lightning storm but also detected radio waves from the strikes.

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But the radio signals slightly differed from what researchers have recorded on Earth, raising questions about the nature of lightning on Jupiter. Now, reports Charles Q. Choi at, the Juno spacecraft has taken its own measurements and found that lightning on Jupiter is not as strange as we once thought.

Previous recordings of Jupiter's lightning, dubbed whistlers thanks to their characteristic whistle-like sound, all seemed to fall in the kilohertz range of the radio spectrum. But lightning on Earth booms in the mega or even gigahertz range. As Choi reports, scientists have speculated many reasons behind the difference, including variations in the atmosphere or even fundamental distinctions between how lightning forms.

“Many theories were offered up to explain it, but no one theory could ever get traction as the answer,” says Shannon Brown, Juno scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a press release.

So to learn more about lightning on the gas giant, researchers analyzed data collected by the Microwave Radiometer Instrument on Juno, which picks up a wide spectrum of radio frequencies. And the results came as a bit of a surprise.

All 377 lightning discharges recorded in Juno’s first eight flybys struck in the Earth-like megahertz and gigahertz range. In the release, Brown explains a possible reason behind the discrepancy: “We think the reason we are the only ones who can see it is because Juno is flying closer to the lighting than ever before, and we are searching at a radio frequency that passes easily through Jupiter’s ionosphere.” They published their findings this week in the journal Nature.

As study co-author Bill Kurth, a physicist from the University of Iowa, explains to Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo, previous flybys orbited the planet in a ring of electrically charged particles known as the Io plasma torus. This could have interfered with the signals. Juno, on the other hand, buzzed by the gas giant some 50 times closer than Voyager 1.

Those close passes allowed scientists to discover another similarity between lightning on Jupiter and Earth: the peak rate of striking. In a separate article in the journal Nature Astronomy, researchers analyzed 1,600 Jovian lightning strikes, finding a peak rate of four strikes per second. This is much higher than Voyager previously detected and similar to rates found on Earth.

“Given the very pronounced differences in the atmospheres between Jupiter and Earth, one might say the similarities we see in their thunderstorms are rather astounding,” Kurth tells Choi.

But there is one big difference between lightning on Jupiter and Earth: location. The majority of Jupiter’s zaps take place near the poles. Meanwhile, the bulk of lighting on Earth strikes near the equator. “Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth,” Brown says in the press release.

So why are things flip-flopped? As NASA explains, it’s all about the heat.

Jupiter is about 25 times farther from the sun than Earth, meaning that, unlike our planet, it gets the majority of its heat from itself. The sunlight that does reach Jupiter heats up the equatorial region, leading to an area of atmospheric stability that prevents warm air from rising. The poles, however, have no such stability. Heat rising from the planet creates roiling convection currents that lead to storms and lightning.

There also seems to be more lightning in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere compared to its southern side. Though researchers aren’t yet sure why, answers may soon be coming. NASA just re-enlisted Juno, adding another 41 months to its mission. The little craft that could will continue to beam back new insights about the gas giant through 2021.

About Jason Daley

Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.

Super-Earth exoplanets often have giant ‘Jupiter’ bodyguards

Artist’s concept of a planetary system with 2 super-Earths and 1 giant Jupiter-like planet. New computer simulations suggest that such systems may be common. Image via MPIA graphics department.

The largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, has often been credited for helping life to exist on Earth, by deflecting dangerous asteroids from entering the inner solar system and colliding with our world. So what about in other solar systems? Do other Earth-type habitable planets also have, or need, larger Jupiter-like worlds protecting them? Is this Earth-Jupiter dynamic just a fluke, or is it a normal part of the development of planetary systems?

An international group of astronomers, led by Martin Schlecker of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), has just announced a new study showing that this kind of planetary arrangement may be more common that previously known. The results suggest that rocky Earth-type planets – at least super-Earths as in this study – will often be accompanied by larger Jupiters orbiting further out, just like in our own solar system.

The findings are detailed in a new peer-reviewed paper that has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The latest version of the paper, submitted on October 13, 2020, is available on arXiv.

The research focuses on super-Earths in particular, rocky planets that are just a bit larger and more massive than Earth but significantly smaller and less massive than Neptune. New computer simulations suggest that these planets will often form in their solar systems along with Jupiter-like planets in outer orbits, reminiscent of the arrangement in our own solar system. As Schlecker said in a statement:

We call such gas giants cold Jupiters. They grow at a distance from the central star, where water exists in the form of ice.

The smaller, rocky worlds are referred to as dry super-Earths, with thinner atmospheres and relatively little water or ice. Even Earth is considered to be a dry planet overall, since the oceans and other water and ice only make up very little of the planet’s volume. Schlecker said:

Also, the Earth is, despite the enormous oceans and the polar regions, with a volume fraction for water of only 0.12%, altogether a dry planet.

Comparison diagram of the scenarios of how, according to the simulations, icy super-Earths (a) or rocky (ice-poor) super-Earths form together with a cold Jupiter (b). The mass of the original protoplanetary disk determines the result. Image via Schlecker et al./ MPIA.

This cold Jupiter and dry super-Earth dynamic is therefore quite similar to what we see in our own solar system, except that our planet is just a bit smaller than a super-Earth. However, we don’t know yet if this is also true for planets actually about the same size as Earth as well, since the study focused more on super-Earths.

How did the researchers come to these conclusions?

They made a statistical evaluation of new computer simulations involving 1,000 planetary systems in the process of evolving around sun-like stars. According to Christoph Mordasini, a paper co-author from the University of Bern:

During the simulations, the planetary embryos collected material, grew into planets, changed their orbits, collided or were ejected from the system.

Such simulations support the investigation of exoplanetary systems, since planets like cold Jupiters require a lot of time to orbit their mother star in their wide orbits. Simulations, on the other hand, are in principle independent of such limitations.

Super-Earths come in a range of sizes, as shown in this artist’s concept. Image via NASA/ AMES/ JPL-Caltech/ Forbes.

Observations of actual planetary systems had found something surprising: ones with a cold Jupiter almost always had a super-Earth as well. Schleckler explained:

We wanted to verify a surprising finding following observations made in recent years that planetary systems with a cold Jupiter almost always contain a super-Earth.

But the simulations seemed to show something different, that only about 1/3 of cold Jupiters should also have a super-Earth in the same system. Synthetic solar system models appeared to have even less, with only 10% of them having both types of planets.

Why the discrepancy? Scientists have several ideas, but a main one has to do with the rate at which giant Jupiter-like planets gradually migrate inward closer to their stars. According to current planetary formation theory, this should result in more gas giant planets in intermediate orbits, between the outer solar system and the inner solar system. These warm Jupiters should interfere with the orbits of inner super-Earths and either collide with them or cause them to be ejected out of their planetary systems. But that is not what has been observed. Therefore, scientists think that the rate is probably slower than first thought, which would allow more super-Earths to remain in close orbits around their stars, just as has been observed many times now.

In that scenario, more planetary systems should end up having both Jupiters and super-Earths.

Jupiter as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft in February 2019. The giant planet has long been thought to be a “bodyguard” of Earth, protecting it from asteroid impacts with its immense gravity. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ SwRI/ MSSS (Processing: Kevin M. Gill)/ APOD.

The results are fairly general in nature, since current observations have not yet been able to specifically categorize the differences between different super-Earths. Some are thought to be mostly rocky, while others may have global oceans, depending on their size and mass. Nevertheless, the results of the simulations show that many planetary systems should have both a cold Jupiter and a dry super-Earth, as stated by Schleckler:

We found a significant excess of planetary systems containing both a cold Jupiter and at least one dry super-Earth, i.e. with little water or ice, and a thin atmosphere at most.

Which planetary systems do end up having both depends largely on the mass of the protoplanetary disk, the huge rotating cloud of gas and dust that planets form from around a newborn star. Medium mass disks, for example, would have too little material to form either super-Earths in the inner solar system or cold Jupiters farther out. However, super-Earths could form in the outer regions of the system, and contain large amounts of ice. If a protoplanetary disk is massive enough, then it could form both super-Earths closer to the star and cold Jupiters farther out from the star.

The new simulations have made some interesting predictions for how many planetary systems should have both types of planets. But verifying them and reconciling them with current observations will take time. Two upcoming telescopes will be able to help do that, the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) of the European Southern Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Schleckler said:

Theoretical predictions must be able to fail in the face of empirical experience. With the next-generation instruments that are about to be deployed, we will be able to test whether our model will hold up or whether we have to go back to the drawing board.

Martin Schlecker at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, lead author of the new study. Image via Martin Schlecker/ MPIA.

It will be interesting to see if these computer models hold up, or not. Our own solar system, for example, has a Jupiter, but no super-Earths. Instead we have good ol’ Earth, which is a little smaller than the planets that the study focused on. If the results are verified, does that mean there may also be many planetary systems with both a Jupiter and an Earth-sized world as well? Could well be, but we will just have to wait a bit to find out!

Bottom line: Planetary systems with both super-Earths and Jupiter-type planets may be common, according to a new study.


The News : Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have:

  • Heavy metal vapours detected around comets
  • A weird supernova
  • Seafloor volcanoes on Europa

The Sky Guide : This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Ophiuchus with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in June.

Q&A : What’s the difference between a nova and a supernova? From our good friend Steven Age in Derby.

#107 – May 2021 Part 2

  • Farewell to Michael Collins
  • Jeni back on the radio, other podcasts and TV – cc/crhxtz
  • Listeners’ emails
  • Blue Origin prepares to take space tourists
  • The launch of China’s new Space Station & falling space debris
  • Can you help the Royal Astronomical Society find the UK’s moon trees? cc/rrhxtz
  • SpaceX reaches a production/economic milestone with a 10th reuse of a Falcon 9 booster

The big news story: NASA awards and then pauses the contract to develop the next lunar lander.

Moons of the Solar System : Our show segment exploring the discovery, exploration and our knowledge of the solar system’s moons. And we move onto Saturn’s enigmatic satellites, Titan and Enceladus.

Q&A : ‘What is the future for Hubble once the JWST launches and could there be new servicing missions with the development of the SpaceX Starship‘ From our good friend Mark de Vrij in the UK.

#107 – May 2021 Part 1

  • Binocular observing
  • Do you want Ralph’s 115 triplet refractor & goto mount?
  • The Wiltshire Audio Anomaly
  • Listeners emails on historical images and refractor rivalry

The News : Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have:

  • An update on that life on Venus story
  • Life around Proxima Centauri is in for a blast
  • More data to add to the universe’s expansion rate conundrum
  • Was Oumuamua really an interstellar comet?

Main News story: The US’ Fermi National Accelerator follows CERN with a muon discovery that also hints at a big anomaly in the Standard Model of Physics.

The Sky Guide : This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Ursa Major with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in May.

Q&A : I’m getting into my 50s, and hearing Ralph say what good times we’re in as regards gaining knowledge of the Universe leads me to wonder…. what will I be around for? From our good friend Peter Jeal from London, UK.

Podcast Extra: Mars Ingenuity

This week we saw the first ever powered flight on another planet. So this is a podcast extra episode to mark this remarkable achievement, explain what happened and why this is such a paradigm shift for future space exploration.

#106 – April 2021 Part 2

  • The ‘Wiltshire Audio Anomaly’
  • 20% off the book Vera Rubin – A Life for US listeners using url:
  • @StargazerRob’s alternative astrophotographer of the year award
  • Listeners’ emails
  • April Fools research papers
  • Commemorating 60 years since Yuri Gagarin’s 1st Spaceflight
  • An update on @NASA’s Mars Ingenuity copter
  • Rounding up @SpaceX’s metal toilet roll tube developments & explosions
  • NASA’s Artemis program update and presidential priorities for NASA
  • Cluttered & congested orbits leading to satellite collisions

Moons of the Solar System : Our show segment exploring the discovery, exploration and our knowledge of the solar system’s moons. And we move onto Jupiter’s 75 less fashionable moons.

Q&A : ‘How are satellite licences awarded and by who? And can/should they make requirements of companies to make them responsible for their space junk and their impact on ground based astronomy?‘ From our good friend Matt Rayment in London, UK.

#106 – April 2021 Part 1

  • Jen finally becomes Dr Jen – bow down pitiful Earthlings!
  • Binocular astronomy
  • Get the book Vera Rubin – A Life by Jacqueline and Simon Mitton with 25% off by emailing [email protected], and quoting the discount code H0350 (mentioning Awesome Astronomy probably wouldn’t go amiss too)
  • Emails from listeners correcting a possible error and posing a teasing question about US refractors.

The News : Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have:

  • UCL researchers unravel the mystery of the Antikythera mechanism
  • The Event Horizon Telescope improves the image of a supermassive black hole by revealing its magnetic fields
  • Confirming the existence of the furthest major solar system object
  • An exoplanet that lost its atmosphere and then gained another one!

Main News story: CERN’s LHC spots a quirky quark that hints at a big anomaly in the Standard Model of Physics

The Sky Guide : This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Coma Bereneces with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in April.

Q&A : You mentioned recently that a comet was a long period comet? What does this mean? How do we know if a comet is a long period comet? From our good friend Arliss Evans in Texas, USA.

#105 – March 2021 Part 2

  • Vaccination cometh to Awesome Astronomy
  • The UK’s unorthodox meteor sample return mission
  • A listener’s email follow up to last month’s Q&A

The News : Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • SpaceX launch and land a 13 storey Starship
  • Japan joins NASA’s moon programme
  • NASA releases its science goals for Project Artemis
  • Northrop Grumman begins work on NASA’s Mars sample return
  • The OSIRIS-REx mission prepares for May asteroid departure

Moons of the Solar System : Our show segment exploring the discovery, exploration and our knowledge of the solar system’s moons. And we move onto Jupiter and the four Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Calisto. Jupiter’s other moons next month.

Q&A : ‘Do you think the first crewed Mars mission will be to land or would it make any sense to do an Apollo 8 (or indeed 10) stylee close approach?‘ From our good friend Alex Bell in Bath, UK.

#105 – March 2021 Part 1

  • Paul becomes the new Vice President of Wycombe Astronomical Society
  • Jen gets a date for her PhD viva
  • Jen promoting NASA’s Perseverance rover on the BBC
  • Get ready for Teentech Live on 5th March
  • Emails from listeners highlighting the good and bad in Awesome Astronomy

The News : Rounding up the astronomy news in February, we have:

  • The Cygnus X-1 black hole must be much bigger than we thought
  • A single neutrino detection reveals a super-supermassive blackhole
  • Was the impact that killed the dinosaurs an asteroid or comet?
  • Earth’s regular magnetic pole reversals may be catastrophic to life

Main News story: A return to the mythical Planet 9 and a new paper casting further doubt on the evidence in favour of an undiscovered massive object in the outer solar system.

The Sky Guide : This month we’re taking a look at the constellation of Gemini with a guide to its history, how to find it, a couple of deep sky objects and a round-up of the solar system views on offer in March.

Q&A : Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was some sort of collective effort to digitise and share the historic astronomical records held in observatories’ glass plates? From our good friend Tony Horton in the UK.

Podcast Extra: How to Become an Astronaut

As the European Space Agency gears up to opening its next recruitment campaign from 31 March to 28 May 2021, we take you through:

  • The entry requirements
  • The selection process
  • The missions successful candidates are expected to fly
  • The first astronaut recruitment trawl for candidates with physical disabilities

If you want to take a look and see if being an astronaut suits you, go to .

If you want to apply, applications should be submitted to the ESA Careers website, from 31 March, at

#104 – February 2021 Part 2

  • Correcting the orbits of Jupiter’s moons
  • Welcoming Galaxy Rise’s Dustin Ruoff onto the Podcast Crew
  • Causing terrorism scares with telescopes

The News : Rounding up the space exploration news we have:

  • NASA provides more details for its lunar space station plans
  • China’s space station plans
  • Turkey look to become a spacefaring nation
  • The European Space Agency looks for more astronauts
  • The UAE’s Hope Mission & China’s Tianwen-1 make it into Mars orbit

Moons of the Solar System : Our new show segment exploring the discovery, exploration and our knowledge of the solar system’s moons. And we begin with Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Q&A : ‘Will commercial ventures, render SLS useless at some stage?‘ From our good friend Steven Sean Spyvee in Leeds, UK.

Inner vs Outer Planets

So what’s the difference between inner and outer planets? The inner planets are planetary bodies in our Solar System that orbit close to the sun. Also referred to as terrestrial planets, these are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The outer planets of our Solar System (i.e. Jovian planets) – namely Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – are the planets that lie farthest from the sun.

The inner planets are believed to have come from materials from a collapsed nebula that formed near the sun. Rocks, heavy metals, and other solid materials make up the composition of these inner planets. Other materials such as gas that was swept halfway across the Solar System formed the outer planets. This is the main reason outer planets are mostly made up of gases such as helium hydrogen, and methane.

Astronomers find Jupiter and sun twins

Artist’s impression of a newly discovered Jupiter twin orbiting a twin star to our sun, HIP 11915. The Jupiter-mass planet orbits at the same distance from its star as our Jupiter does from our sun. Is there an as-yet-unseen system of planets orbiting HIP 11915, bearing a resemblance to our own solar system? Image via ESO

The quest for a second Earth, sometimes called an Earth 2.0 – and for another solar system like ours, a solar system 2.0 – is one of modern-day astronomy’s most exciting endeavors. Today (July 15, 2015), an international group of astronomers announced that it used ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, on the outskirts of Chile’s Atacama Desert, to identify a planet “just like Jupiter” orbiting at Jupiter’s distance from a sunlike star.

The discovery is causing speculation among astronomers that this star might be central to a solar system like ours, perhaps with a world like our Earth.

Current theories suggest that Jupiter-mass planets play an important role in shaping planetary systems. That’s one reason a Jupiter-mass planet in a Jupiter-like orbit around the sunlike star HIP 11915 is so intriguing. Might this large, distant world have driven the formation of a system of planets around HIP 11915 similar to our solar system?

Perhaps even more intriguing, HIP 11915 is about the same age as our sun. And its sunlike composition suggests that there may be rocky planets orbiting closer to the star.

This object is not the only Jupiter twin ever found, by the way. Another one orbits the star HD 154345.

Jorge Melendez, of the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, led the team and is co-author of their study, which will appear in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The team found the planet by measuring the slight wobble it imposes on its host star in the course of their mutual orbit. A statement from ESO explained:

So far, exoplanet surveys have been most sensitive to planetary systems that are populated in their inner regions by massive planets, down to a few times the mass of the Earth.

This contrasts with our solar system, where there are small rocky planets in the inner regions and gas giants like Jupiter farther out.

According to the most recent theories, the arrangement of our solar system, so conducive to life, was made possible by the presence of Jupiter and the gravitational influence this gas giant exerted on the solar system during its formative years.

It would seem, therefore, that finding a Jupiter twin is an important milestone on the road to finding a planetary system that mirrors our own.

Megan Bedell, from the University of Chicago and lead author of the paper, concluded:

After two decades of hunting for exoplanets, we are finally beginning to see long-period gas giant planets similar to those in our own solar system … this discovery is, in every respect, an exciting sign that other solar systems may be out there waiting to be discovered.

The astronomers say they need to make follow-up observations to confirm and constrain their finding, but HIP 11915 is one of the most promising candidates so far to host a planetary system similar to our own.

Bottom line: The sunlike star HIP 11915 is now known to have a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting at Jupiter’s distance from it. Since massive planets like Jupiter at this location in a solar system are thought to help drive the formation of small, rocky planets, astronomers are speculating that this system might also contain another Earth.

Relation Between Areas of Astronomy

Well, technically, classical physics was all worked out in earth-based laboratories, but that's not what we usually consider "planetary science".

Almost every are in phyiscs which once seemed "united" has now been divided into tinier bits. There was a time when there were people who contributed to many areas of mathematics, physics(well, the terrestrial version) and astronomy.

Similarly, when astronomy was confined to the Solar System, studies of the planets and the rocks on Earth put a lower limit to the age of the Sun and such. But today, things are vastly different. Knowing whether a form of iron exists/existed on Mars will not tell you anything about the CMB. Of course, both the knowledge of Mars and CMB are very important to get a complete picture (from the Beginning to the present), but I doubt if one could influence the other in any way. (Just my 0.02 units of currency)

One important aspect is the great depth of interlocking consistency that is oft all but invisible . we have today's cosmology, planetary science, astrophysics, . in large part because 'it all hangs together'.

For example, the oldest rocks are dated to be

billions of years old, and the Sun

billions of years old (stellar evolution models, etc), so cosmological results that are

10 billion years are clearly consistent.

It was not always thus before the discovery of what powers the Sun, things like the age of the Earth (derived from geological studies) seemed inconsistent with the mere existence of a constant powered Sun.

Another example is GR: the anomalous advance of the perihelion of Mercury is one observational result consistent with GR GR is, in turn, where all modern cosmology starts.

It can be fascinating to follow the threads there are so many, and the inter-connectedness and mutual consistencies are very large in number.

Oh, and to bring it back to PF, the glue is physics.

Actually, I wouldn't call either of those things "planetary science" (in the modern sense) either, but let's project this into the bigger picture. The first question we're asking ourselves is, "What are we interested in?" If we can agree on an answer to that question (at least partially), then we want to ask, "How can we most efficiently answer the questions we're interested in?" Ultimately, the correlations that are being discussed here are indirect and hard to predict. It would seem to me rather inefficient to attempt to address cosmological questions with probes to Jupiter or Saturn when virtually all of our current knowledge about cosmology comes from dedicated missions (COBE, WMAP, HST, etc.) or surveys (SDSS, 2dF, etc.).

So Michael's original statement:

is probably true in the long run, I wouldn't deny that. However, if wolram is most interested in cosmology, is it in his interest to support diversion of funds from cosmology probes to planetary ones?

This question is generally relevant to astronomy because we grapple with it every time we submit suggestions for money allocation at NASA.

That's not really what I meant. I find myself in general agreement to what Nereid said. They are all interrelated, and they can be studyied through physics and mathmatical models, but only if we fully understand the event well enough to model it properly.

Well, try looking at it this way. We know that electricity plays "some" role in the "big picture". By studying the aurora on Mars and Jupiter, we can better understand what to look for when looking for planets around other solar systems. Perhaps we will be able to image the aurora before we can image the whole planet properly, or pick out planets based on their aurora. It's the interrelated areas of science that can come together to for new ways of studying the universe that fascinate me. I'm willing to let a little splintering to occur in the short term so that we can be better prepared in the future to interpret what we see in future Spitzer and Hubble images.

. no. You said that Birkeland realized that the sun and earth were electrically connected. What does this fact have to do with cosmology?

That's correct, planetary science is useful in our study of extrasolar planetary systems, but extrasolar planets are all observed within a small portion of the galaxy and are not generally considered to be in the realm of cosmology. Many years from now, we may be able to explore planets outside of our galaxy and, at that point, local explorations may become important for cosmology, but this is a long way off.

It has everything to do with cosmology since it's a cosmological phenomenon, not just between the sun and the earth but between the sun and every planet as far as we know. We know that planets and suns exchange charged particles. That is a known fact of cosmology.

Today that may seem true from your perspective, but as you rightfully note, future generations with more advanced telescopes won't necessarily agree with that statement. I'm not sure that time is such a "long" way off. The moon landings seem a "long" way off to some, but I'm old enough to remember seeing the landings live on TV. With the adaptive optics that are coming online, I don't think it will be all that long before we are peering into other solar systems. Understanding how our own solar system functions will help us to understand what we should be looking for in other solar systems.

Aside from being something you should point out before participating in a debate about "planetary science as compared to cosmology", this kinda misses the point of the whole thread. The question of how different areas of astronomy effect one another yields a trivial answer if you just lump everything into the same discipline.

By the way, your definition of "cosmology" fell out of use at the beginning of the 20th century. Our concept of the "universe" has grown a lot since then.

No, we've been studying cosmology (in the modern sense of the word) for almost a century now, but still don't understand in detail how the solar system formed. The latter is not necessary to understand the former. There are certainly things to be learned from the solar system that can be applied to cosmology (Nereid mentioned a few), but science is not done in the stepwise method that you're suggesting.

NOTE by SpaceTiger: Split from the "Nasa" thread started by wolram. Here, we'll explore the question of the relation between seemingly disconnected areas of astronomical research.

I respectfully suggest these are actually interrelated ideas. By better understanding what the planets are made of, we can gain insights into how our universe came to be. Exploration is part of human nature. We're a curious lot. Furthermore, most of the real estate of the universe is beyond planet earth. :)

I may be wrong, i have have not seen any figures from nasa, but guesstimates put a mission to mars at between half and one
TRILLION $ over a 30yr period, i would expect one heck of a lot
of science for that outlay, but i think in reality we will end up with
some of the most expensive bits of rock ever.

ADDED, other than the existance of planets, i can see no real roll for them in the big picture.

I may be wrong, i have have not seen any figures from nasa, but guesstimates put a mission to mars at between half and one
TRILLION $ over a 30yr period, i would expect one heck of a lot
of science for that outlay, but i think in reality we will end up with
some of the most expensive bits of rock ever.

ADDED, other than the existance of planets, i can see no real roll for them in the big picture.

I guess I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around your definition of "cosmology". Planets are the primary objects that allow life forms, as we understand them, to flourish. It seems to me that life, and the distribution of life in the universe is an important part of the "big picture". You and I couldn't even have this discussion were it not for the existence of planets.

I can only assume by "big picture", you personally are more interested in trying to get a handle of the "total mass layout" of the universe, and what forces created this layout and what forces continue to make it tick. Even in that scenario however, planets have a role and makeup some percentage of "big picture".

For instance, what role might electricity play in the "big picture"? By studying planetary phenomenon, we might start to understand it's role in solar system formation, and cosmology as a whole. I'm just not sure we can even answer these kinds of questions properly without first understanding the "smaller pictures" first.

I hear your point about the money that being spent, but frankly I'd rather spend that kind of money exploring Mars than in Iraq. Governments are never "cost efficient" to begin with, which is part of the reason I will be glad to see private industry start to get more actively involved. I suspect the motives behind these actions will have a lot to do with taking people (and charging them accordingly) to other "planets". :)

Well, for one thing Newtonian physics, without consideration of Birkeland currents, may not work as well outside of this particular solar system. In fact, we are still finding planets in different regions and different orbital planes of our own solar system, so it's not altogether clear that simple Newtonian physics will fully explain the layout of our solar system. Why did we include GR into Newtonian physics? As you noted, by including that greater understanding into our equations, we were better able to model the orbits of planets in our solar system. Fine tuning is accepted part of all areas of science, and the computer you are using today is a remarkable example of the value of "fine tuning" theory over time.