Opinions on Jupiter's evolution
have undergone a revision, following the data sent by the Galileo
probe. Previous measurements had
suggested that Jupiter contained
about 10 times more oxygen than
the sun. The old theory says that
young Jupiter, bombarded by
comets containing carbon, nitrogen
and oxygen, became much richer in
these elements (New Scientist,
January 27, 1996).
Galileo's photographs, however, reveal that the oxygen content in the Jovian atmosphere is roughly the same as that of the sun's. Tobias Owen of the University of Hawaii says that settling in of the original dust particles in Jupiter's atmosphere is a more feasible explanation for its present state than later cometary impacts.
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