Here’s How Jupiter Kicked Dwarf Planet Ceres Into Asteroid Belt

Here's How Jupiter Kicked Dwarf Planet Ceres Into Asteroid Belt
Here's How Jupiter Kicked Dwarf Planet Ceres Into Asteroid Belt

Africa-Press – Cape verde. Ceres is a dwarf planet levitating in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It was originally considered a planet, but then scientists downgraded it to an asteroid.

Jupiter’s gravity was responsible for ejecting Ceres out into the asteroid belt between the largest planet in the solar system and the red planet, according to a new computer simulation.

Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt; it is about 1,000 kilometres wide and therefore stands out among neighbouring space rocks, which are only tens or hundreds of meters in diameter. Additionally, the dwarf planet contains chemical compounds in it that are not typical for its asteroid belt “neighbours” – ammonia, for instance.

This and many other bizarre features of Ceres led scientists to believe it was an alien in the asteroid belt, and thanks to new data, they may now know how the “intrusion” happened. According to the new findings, there were “at least 3,600 Ceres-like objects beyond Saturn’s orbit.”

With Ceres containing ammonia – a compound not observed in regular space rocks but present in comets – it prompted scientists to question how it ended up in the asteroid belt if it has comet’s origins. The answer to that may be connected to gas giants – Jupiter, in Ceres’ case.

As the solar system was forming over 4.5 billion years ago, the gravity of the gas giants was a powerful force that scattered a lot of Ceres-like objects everywhere.

As a result of these events, the scientists now believe, Ceres found itself thrown into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, joined by a couple of other dwarf planets – Vesta and Pallas. Another space object in the asteroid belt, named Hygiea, may also be a protoplanet.

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