In a new find, it has been revealed that Jupiter and many other gas giants had ‘steam worlds’ during their initial days. That means ancient Jupiter might have been covered with large warm oceans and abundant water vapor atmosphere.

John Chambers, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C. proposed that some protoplanets might have grown into steam worlds from their modest beginnings as accretions of rock and ice pebbles. He said that once the protoplanet like Jupiter reaches about 0.084 Earth masses, the increasing pressure melts the ice and creates liquid, which could eventually form oceans. And because of no presence of air, the liquids might then evaporate and form an atmosphere full of water vapor. These water vapors trap all the heat, and hence it results in the increase in temperature. Then the liquid ocean gets converted into ‘supercritical fluid’ that blurs the line between the surface and the actual atmosphere.

Chambers informed that a protoplanet can be quite warm and can have a temperature ranging anywhere between 32 to 704 degrees Fahrenheit. He said that he calculated the structure of atmospheres in this case, and worked out when conditions became right for rapid inflow of gas to form a giant planet. He found out that too for these oceanic conditions to happen, the planet needs to be very few Earth masses which is somewhat closure than the conventional value of 10 earth masses.

This latest study might provide some vital inputs towards the understanding of gas giants and how they grew. Jupiter was not expected to have such an ancient watery atmosphere because the planet is known for its highly gassy atmosphere and is considered as a giant swirly ball. But surely, this latest study has some interesting facts to support its claim about Jupiter having an ancient deposit of large oceans. The finding’s of Chamber has been approved for publication in The Astrophysical Journal


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