Changing Jupiter's orbit will make the Earth even more fit for life

Changing Jupiter's orbit will make the Earth even more fit for life

The surface of our planet can become even more life-friendly if the gas giant Jupiter changes its orbit, assumes new modelling, and a study published in a magazine can be important for finding life-friendly exoplanet.

If our planet is fit for life, it is because it responds to several factors necessary for the creation of life. First, the Earth is sufficiently far from the sun to contain liquid water on its surface; it is geologically active and its axis of rotation is sufficiently stable; finally, we are relatively untouched by asteroid attacks, partly because of the presence of Jupiter; this giant is believed to have helped clean up the solar system of debris and stabilize the orbits of internal planets such as the Earth.

Jupiter's influence on life on Earth is such that we're used to thinking that changing its orbit will have catastrophic consequences for our planet. In fact, everything depends on change. A new study shows that if a gas giant had a more eccentric orbit, life on Earth could be even better.

The hypothesis of a more eccentric Jupiter

The study examined how Jupiter affects the Earth's orbit and axial inclination over time, the Earth has a very circular orbit, and its axial slope, which determines the seasons of the year, is now about 23.4 degrees.

However, these factors change slightly over time and form the basis of the so-called Milankovic cycle, a measure of the amount of global heat generated by the Earth's surface known as insolation.

Part of the Milankovic cycle is due to the small gravitational attraction of Jupiter, but since Jupiter also has a circular orbit, this is not a significant factor. In this study, scientists created a simulation of the solar systems with Jupiter's orbit with a large eccentricity. They believed that a more eccentric Jupiter would make the Earth less fit for life. They were surprised to find the opposite.

If the gravity of Jupiter's influence is increased, the Earth will indeed have the best insulation, so some cold parts of our planet will warm to more moderate temperatures.

"," notes Pam Verworth, co-author of the study, and we show that both assumptions are wrong.

On the other hand, other changes can be catastrophic, and researchers have discovered that if Jupiter were much closer to the sun, it could cause the extreme inclination of the Earth, and as a result, our planet will receive less sunshine, which means that negative temperatures will be observed in large parts of the Earth.

Exoplanet research

These results are not directly related to us, but according to recent estimates, Jupiter is not expected to change its orbit; however, researchers believe that this study can help astronomers to determine which exoplanets may be suitable for life.

Currently, the search for habitable planets depends on whether the planet is located in an area where liquid water can be found on its surface; this is an important parameter, but others — such as orbital shape or seasonal fluctuations — also play a key role.

Recall that planets with more circular orbits maintain a constant distance from their stars, while more eccentric orbits approach and remove planets from their stars at different orbital points. The proximity of a star determines how much radiation it receives and how it is transmitted, and thus affects the planet's climate.

Modern telescopes are powerful enough to determine the eccentricity of the orbits of an exoplanet. However, they are not well equipped to measure the inclination of these worlds. However, astronomers can use indirect methods to define them, such as studying the orbits and movements of nearby gas giants.