Revelations on Jupiter's formation, evolution and interior: Challenges from Juno results

Ravit Helled*, David J. Stevenson, Jonathan I. Lunine, Scott J. Bolton, Nadine Nettelmann, Sushil Atreya, Tristan Guillot, Burkhard Militzer, Yamila Miguel, William B. Hubbard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Juno mission has revolutionized and challenged our understanding of Jupiter. As Juno transitioned into its extended mission, we review the major findings of Jupiter's internal structure relevant to understanding Jupiter's formation and evolution. Results from Juno's investigation of Jupiter's interior structure imply that the planet has compositional gradients and is accordingly non-adiabatic, with a complex internal structure. These new results imply that current models of Jupiter's formation and evolution require a revision. In this paper, we discuss potential formation and evolution paths that can lead to an internal structure model consistent with Juno data, and the constraints they provide. We note that standard core accretion formation models, including the heavy-element enrichment during planetary growth is consistent with an interior that is inhomogeneous with composition gradients in its deep interior. However, such formation models typically predict that this region, which could be interpreted as a primordial dilute core, is confined to ∼10% of Jupiter's total mass. In contrast, structure models that fit Juno data imply that this region contains 30% of the mass or more. One way to explain the origin of this extended region is by invoking a relatively long (~2 Myrs) formation phase where the growing planet accretes gas and planetesimals delaying the runaway gas accretion. This is not the same as the delay that appears in standard giant planet formation models because it involves additional accretion of solids in that period. However, both the possible new picture and the old picture are compatible with the formation scenario recently proposed to explain the separation of two meteoritic populations in the solar system. Alternatively, Jupiter's fuzzy core could be a result of a giant impact or convection post-formation. These novel scenarios require somewhat special and specific conditions. Clarity on the plausibility of such conditions could come from future high-resolution observations of planet-forming regions around other stars, from the observed and modeled architectures of extrasolar systems with giant planets, and future Juno data obtained during its extended mission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114937
StatePublished - 15 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Planets and satellites: Composition
  • Planets and satellites: Interiors


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