Jupiter's Formation and Its Primordial Internal Structure

Michael Lozovsky, Ravit Helled, Eric D. Rosenberg, Peter Bodenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The composition of Jupiter and the primordial distribution of the heavy elements are determined by its formation history. As a result, in order to constrain the primordial internal structure of Jupiter, the growth of the core and the deposition and settling of accreted planetesimals must be followed in detail. In this paper we determine the distribution of the heavy elements in proto-Jupiter and determine the mass and composition of the core. We find that while the outer envelope of proto-Jupiter is typically convective and has a homogeneous composition, the innermost regions have compositional gradients. In addition, the existence of heavy elements in the envelope leads to much higher internal temperatures (several times 104 K) than in the case of a hydrogen-helium envelope. The derived core mass depends on the actual definition of the core: if the core is defined as the region in which the heavy-element mass fraction is above some limit (say, 0.5), then it can be much more massive (∼15 M) and more extended (10% of the planet's radius) than in the case where the core is just the region with 100% heavy elements. In the former case Jupiter's core also consists of hydrogen and helium. Our results should be taken into account when constructing internal structure models of Jupiter and when interpreting the upcoming data from the Juno (NASA) mission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number227
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2017


  • planets and satellites: composition
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • planets and satellites: gaseous planets
  • planets and satellites: individual (Jupiter)
  • planets and satellites: interiors


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