If Jupiter Were To Explode Tomorrow

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#1 Posted by charizard1605 (63058 posts) -

I am writing as science fiction story for a class, and a central premise in the story is that Jupiter explodes. However, while writing it, it occurred to me that I can't just have Jupiter disappear... surely there have to be some gravitational perturbation effects caused by the explosion as well?

I was wondering if anyone with any expertise could give me a general picture as to what would happen if Jupiter were to disappear tomorrow. I have the following ideas in mind, and any appendages to them, or corrections (or new ideas altogether) would be greatly appreciated!

a) Jupiter's gravity pulls the inner planets a bit outward away from the sun. In the absence of Jupiter, the inner planets would 'sink in' towards the sun, causing Mercury to crash into the sun, Venus to get closer, Earth to get closer (and get hotter, causing most life to go extinct), and Mars to get closer.
b) The outer planets would probably experience orbital disturbances.
c) Jupiter's inner satellites would probably be destroyed in the same explosion, whereas the outer ones would go flying off, careening either into the other gas giants and their satellites, or the asteroid belt
d) The asteroid belt itself would coalesce into a planet, in the absence of Jupiter's tidal forces ripping it apart.
e) Conversely, entropy might prevent the asteroid belt to coalesce; the only disturbances the asteroid belt would experience would be from the incoming satellites (or fragments of satellites) that once belonged to Jupiter.

Please let me know how correct you believe the ideas above are, and feel free to add any new points if you have any. Thanks for your help!

#2 Posted by TheFallenDemon (13933 posts) -

Dose butthurt aliens from Pluto did it!

#3 Posted by Chow_Mein_Kampf (6203 posts) -

Dose butthurt aliens from Pluto did it!

TheFallenDemon

Well maybe if Pluto were still a planet, this coul've been avoided..........

#4 Posted by lamprey263 (26443 posts) -
well, it has 67 moons so without a planet and an explosion pushing them away you've got a lot of rogue moons floating around the solar system and maybe those end up being a threat to other planets
#5 Posted by Nuck81 (6042 posts) -
The did this already in 2010 the sequel to 2001. It didn't explode as much as turn into a second star
#6 Posted by leviathan91 (7763 posts) -

I'm curious on how Jupiter would even explode and so far, it's very unlikely that it will explode so perhaps you should explain how it would explode scientifically.

Also if Jupiter did explode, I don't think it would have a huge negative impact on the Earth; however, Jupiter is the bodyguard of the Solar System so if it did disappear/explode then we're more likely to experience more comets hitting earth.

Perhaps you can do something like making Jupiter into a Star (again, unlikely but you can always do an apocaylpse story based on extreme heatwaves).

But hey, it's your story. If you want it scientific, fine and I may be wrong about my info (it's 2 am in the morning so I didn't research as thoroughly as I should) or fvck science and do what you want. :P

#7 Posted by Blood-Scribe (6465 posts) -

a) Jupiter's gravity pulls the inner planets a bit outward away from the sun. In the absence of Jupiter, the inner planets would 'sink in' towards the sun, causing Mercury to crash into the sun, Venus to get closer, Earth to get closer (and get hotter, causing most life to go extinct), and Mars to get closer.
b) The outer planets would probably experience orbital disturbances.
c) Jupiter's inner satellites would probably be destroyed in the same explosion, whereas the outer ones would go flying off, careening either into the other gas giants and their satellites, or the asteroid belt
d) The asteroid belt itself would coalesce into a planet, in the absence of Jupiter's tidal forces ripping it apart.
e) Conversely, entropy might prevent the asteroid belt to coalesce; the only disturbances the asteroid belt would experience would be from the incoming satellites (or fragments of satellites) that once belonged to Jupiter.
charizard1605

a.) This is very unlikely considering how the gravitational force on Mercury from the sun is around 8 orders of magnitude (10^8) greater than the gravitational force of Jupiter on Mercury. Since the gravitational force falls off with the square of the distance, and Jupiter is about 10 times futher away from Mercury than the sun is from Mercury, Jupiter exerts a much smaller force on Mercury than the sun and its gravitational effect is negligible. There's also other problems with this assumption because there are times at which the sun is between any given inner planet and Jupiter, which would mean that Jupiter would pull planets toward the sun rather than away from it (although the orbital mechanics behind this are probably a lot more complicated, but the point is that Jupiter wouldn't always pull planets away from the sun).

b.) There would likely be some orbital disturbances, but once we go past Jupiter the orbital radii of the planets get much larger than the orbits of the inner planets. Again, since the gravitational force falls off with the square of the distance, the force that Jupiter exerts on the outer planets is going to get very small as we go further out into the outer planets of the solar system. In the case of Saturn and Uranus, the gravitational pull from the Sun is still 3 orders of magnitude (1000 times) greater than that of Jupiter. For Neptune, the sun's gravitational pull is 10000 times larger.

In both of these cases, removing Jupiter really wouldn't have all that much of an effect as far as orbital behavior is concerned. Or at least nothing anywhere near what you suggest.

(note: all calculations based on distances between planets and the sun as of their current orbital positions and my admittedly rudimentary understanding of orbital mechanics)

c.) I can't really comment on this one since it'd depend on what kind of explosion and how much energy is released in the (impossible) event that Jupiter exploded.

d.) & e.) I suppose it's possible that some objects in the asteroid belt would be able to accrete since the removal of Jupiter would result in a lower orbital energy for objects in the asteriod belt, but it's doubtful that it would amount to something the size of a planet.

Disregarding all of that, the premise of Jupiter exploding is ridiculous considering how the gravitational binding energy of Jupiter is far too great for any chemical reaction to overcome in such a manner as to cause an explosion. A more convincing premise would be a collision between Jupiter and a celestial object, although it would take something incredibly large considering how Jupiter does a really good job of shielding us from incoming objects.

#8 Posted by Allicrombie (25625 posts) -
It would be like the Death Star exploding, there would be fireworks and music, dancing bears and one heck of a party.
#9 Posted by October_Tide (5396 posts) -

[QUOTE="charizard1605"]

a) Jupiter's gravity pulls the inner planets a bit outward away from the sun. In the absence of Jupiter, the inner planets would 'sink in' towards the sun, causing Mercury to crash into the sun, Venus to get closer, Earth to get closer (and get hotter, causing most life to go extinct), and Mars to get closer.
b) The outer planets would probably experience orbital disturbances.
c) Jupiter's inner satellites would probably be destroyed in the same explosion, whereas the outer ones would go flying off, careening either into the other gas giants and their satellites, or the asteroid belt
d) The asteroid belt itself would coalesce into a planet, in the absence of Jupiter's tidal forces ripping it apart.
e) Conversely, entropy might prevent the asteroid belt to coalesce; the only disturbances the asteroid belt would experience would be from the incoming satellites (or fragments of satellites) that once belonged to Jupiter.
Blood-Scribe

a.) This is very unlikely considering how the gravitational force on Mercury from the sun is around 8 orders of magnitude (10^8) greater than the gravitational force of Jupiter on Mercury. Since the gravitational force falls off with the square of the distance, and Jupiter is about 10 times futher away from Mercury than the sun is from Mercury, Jupiter exerts a much smaller force on Mercury than the sun and its gravitational effect is negligible. There's also other problems with this assumption because there are times at which the sun is between any given inner planet and Jupiter, which would mean that Jupiter would pull planets toward the sun rather than away from it (although the orbital mechanics behind this are probably a lot more complicated, but the point is that Jupiter wouldn't always pull planets away from the sun).

b.) There would likely be some orbital disturbances, but once we go past Jupiter the orbital radii of the planets get much larger than the orbits of the inner planets. Again, since the gravitational force falls off with the square of the distance, the force that Jupiter exerts on the outer planets is going to get very small as we go further out into the outer planets of the solar system. In the case of Saturn and Uranus, the gravitational pull from the Sun is still 3 orders of magnitude (1000 times) greater than that of Jupiter. For Neptune, the sun's gravitational pull is 10000 times larger.

In both of these cases, removing Jupiter really wouldn't have all that much of an effect as far as orbital behavior is concerned. Or at least nothing anywhere near what you suggest.

(note: all calculations based on distances between planets and the sun as of their current orbital positions and my admittedly rudimentary understanding of orbital mechanics)

c.) I can't really comment on this one since it'd depend on what kind of explosion and how much energy is released in the (impossible) event that Jupiter exploded.

d.) & e.) I suppose it's possible that some objects in the asteroid belt would be able to accrete since the removal of Jupiter would result in a lower orbital energy for objects in the asterioud belt, but it's doubtful that it would amount to something the size of a planet.

Disregarding all of that, the premise of Jupiter exploding is ridiculous considering how the gravitational binding energy of Jupiter is far too great for any chemical reaction to overcome in such a manner as to cause an explosion. A more convincing premise would be a collision between Jupiter and a celestial object, although it would take something incredibly large considering how Jupiter does a really good job of shielding us from incoming objects.

Can't say I have a solid grasp of astrophysics but I'm going to take your word for it because it sounds all sciency and sh!t

/Thread,

#10 Posted by Krelian-co (13274 posts) -

I am writing as science fiction story for a class, and a central premise in the story is that Jupiter explodes. However, while writing it, it occurred to me that I can't just have Jupiter disappear... surely there have to be some gravitational perturbation effects caused by the explosion as well?

I was wondering if anyone with any expertise could give me a general picture as to what would happen if Jupiter were to disappear tomorrow. I have the following ideas in mind, and any appendages to them, or corrections (or new ideas altogether) would be greatly appreciated!

a) Jupiter's gravity pulls the inner planets a bit outward away from the sun. In the absence of Jupiter, the inner planets would 'sink in' towards the sun, causing Mercury to crash into the sun, Venus to get closer, Earth to get closer (and get hotter, causing most life to go extinct), and Mars to get closer.
b) The outer planets would probably experience orbital disturbances.
c) Jupiter's inner satellites would probably be destroyed in the same explosion, whereas the outer ones would go flying off, careening either into the other gas giants and their satellites, or the asteroid belt
d) The asteroid belt itself would coalesce into a planet, in the absence of Jupiter's tidal forces ripping it apart.
e) Conversely, entropy might prevent the asteroid belt to coalesce; the only disturbances the asteroid belt would experience would be from the incoming satellites (or fragments of satellites) that once belonged to Jupiter.

Please let me know how correct you believe the ideas above are, and feel free to add any new points if you have any. Thanks for your help!

charizard1605

i read some astronoy but it is very casual, so don't take my word for granted and i may be wrong

a. jupiters gravity is not as big as to do that, but wht it really does is pull many of the bodies that come from out of the solar system to it so you could say it actually shields the inner planets from meteorites, asteroids and other type of space bodies

c. the explosion would send millions of pieces with strong force trough the asteroid belt sending millions of asteroids and meteorites towards the inner planets which would be bombarded by the remnants of the explosion and the garbage they collected from the belt.

d. the asteroid belt can't form a planet now it has been spread trough most f its orbit and doesn't have a gravitational pull to form one

AGAIN, i may be completely rong but this is what i think, you could make a story about how the earth is getting bombarded by asteroids and meteorites imho.

#11 Posted by Blazerdt47 (5669 posts) -

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQZpUWX1BMQPcQQTdVrgQh

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#12 Posted by Vaasman (11868 posts) -

I am writing as science fiction story for a class, and a central premise in the story is that Jupiter explodes. However, while writing it, it occurred to me that I can't just have Jupiter disappear... surely there have to be some gravitational perturbation effects caused by the explosion as well?

I was wondering if anyone with any expertise could give me a general picture as to what would happen if Jupiter were to disappear tomorrow. I have the following ideas in mind, and any appendages to them, or corrections (or new ideas altogether) would be greatly appreciated!

a) Jupiter's gravity pulls the inner planets a bit outward away from the sun. In the absence of Jupiter, the inner planets would 'sink in' towards the sun, causing Mercury to crash into the sun, Venus to get closer, Earth to get closer (and get hotter, causing most life to go extinct), and Mars to get closer.
b) The outer planets would probably experience orbital disturbances.
c) Jupiter's inner satellites would probably be destroyed in the same explosion, whereas the outer ones would go flying off, careening either into the other gas giants and their satellites, or the asteroid belt
d) The asteroid belt itself would coalesce into a planet, in the absence of Jupiter's tidal forces ripping it apart.
e) Conversely, entropy might prevent the asteroid belt to coalesce; the only disturbances the asteroid belt would experience would be from the incoming satellites (or fragments of satellites) that once belonged to Jupiter.

Please let me know how correct you believe the ideas above are, and feel free to add any new points if you have any. Thanks for your help!

charizard1605

Well I think it's already answered but I'll give my 2 cents on each point.

A) No the gravity well of Jupiter isn't large enough that if it were gone, the other planets would fall out of the sun's orbit. Really that wouldn't make sense anyway, the orbit of the planets are not aligned. Often jupiter is behind the sun, which means it would have yanked us into the sun a long time ago. Now, that's not to say it wouldn't have an effect on our orbit at all, but it would be extremely minor.

B) Possibly a little more than Earth, but again, orbits are not aligned or and the same speed, so the effect would be small.

C) This one could possibly be interesting. One of the things that often isn't mentioned about the planet is that it has a ring like saturn, although it is very small. If debree from that were aligned with a station somewhere, that could be a real problem. And of course all of it's moon's would be screwed so anyone on a station there would be SoL or anyone in the path of a flung moon.

D) You know what it's science fiction, so sure whatever. In real life though the formation of the planets was a process of millions or billions of years of heat and pressure, so if this came into play there would have to be a large step in time. By large I mean those millions of years.

E) Again since it's science fiction, the idea of an outlying station being affected sounds like the best application of debree to me.

Not many details to work off of but be sure to include some brief exposition. Even if it's a case where the characters offhandedly mention they have no clue why it exploded, that should be mentioned. Science fiction works better when you aren't just feeding people science magic. At least in my opinion.

#13 Posted by Barbariser (6765 posts) -

Violently disintegrating 1.9 x 10^24 tonnes of planet would cause all that mass to turn into extremely hot and fast pieces flying all around the solar system, humans would be blown to extinction in a matter of days.

#14 Posted by WiiCubeM1 (4730 posts) -

Aah, this old thing. Well, if Jupiter were to just... dissapear, there would be 4 large planets now in orbit where Jupiter was, there would be major changes in the asteroid belt, although whether they would drift or coalesce, I have no idea, and... that's about it, really.

Jupiter's only real job in the Solar System is to keep the asteroid belt in it's orbit due to it's gravitational influences. Take from that what you will, but that's pretty much it.

Also the Trojan Asteroids would be freed from there locked positions in orbit.

The effects of an explosion, depending on whether it was combustible or simply pushing off the layers would lead to a planetary nebula (a very small one) for some years before being pushed out of the Solar System by the solar winds. Jupiter is 99.9% gas, mostly hydrogen and helium. The farther down you go, the hydrogen is compressed until it becomes metallic and liquid. All this is huddled around a small rocky core. There is little mass to casue any damage in an explosion.

As for the gravitational effects, there would be few, if any. There is no increase in mass leading to an increase in gravity, just a massive loss in it, so things locked into an orbit would be pushed out due to lack of gravity, like the Galilean moons and other random objects. This would casue an unstable reaction in the asteroid blt as they are freed from the locking effects of Jupiter that could possibly lead to more of them escaping from the belt, possibly hitting earth.

#15 Posted by Vaasman (11868 posts) -

Violently disintegrating 1.9 x 10^24 tonnes of planet would cause all that mass to turn into extremely hot and fast pieces flying all around the solar system, humans would be blown to extinction in a matter of days.

Barbariser

While it would certainly be visible from earth, Jupiter at it's closest is still serveral hundred million miles away from Earth. Additionally, a lot of Jupiter's mass is condensed hydrogen and helium. And they still have to contend with the gravity well of the sun while flying.

Unless a thick chunk of core (which we can only guess is solid) or a moon were flung in just the right way, which in and of itself is extremely unlikely, there probably wouldn't be much of an effect on Earth from the explosion.

#16 Posted by Barbariser (6765 posts) -

[QUOTE="Barbariser"]

Violently disintegrating 1.9 x 10^24 tonnes of planet would cause all that mass to turn into extremely hot and fast pieces flying all around the solar system, humans would be blown to extinction in a matter of days.

Vaasman

While it would certainly be visible from earth, Jupiter at it's closest is still serveral hundred million miles away from Earth. Additionally, a lot of Jupiter's mass is condensed hydrogen and helium. And they still have to contend with the gravity well of the sun while flying.

Unless a thick chunk of core (which we can only guess is solid) or a moon were flung in just the right way, which in and of itself is extremely unlikely, there probably wouldn't be much of an effect on Earth from the explosion.

Having a large "cloud" of high-velocity ionized particles striking you isn't any better than having the same mass of big solid pieces striking you. Also, the Sun's gravitational pull has very little effect at that distance, and any effect it would have would be an inwards (and thus, Earthwards) pull on Jupiter's constituent particles. Even without the kinetic impact of Jupiter pieces hitting Earth at ridiculous velocities, there's also the radiation from having an explosion with, at a conservative estimate, trillions of times more energy than the Suns releases in one second.

Based on distances and your mention of visibility, I would have to reevaluate; humans wouldn't go extinct in days, they'd go extinct in days after half of us get vapourized by a heat wave thousands to millions of times more intense than solar radiation. By the time the gas clouds hit we'd all be dead.

#17 Posted by GrayF0X786 (4106 posts) -

they would say Al-Qeada did it.

#18 Posted by muller39 (14944 posts) -

they would say Al-Qeada did it.

GrayF0X786
Alien Al-Qeada. Even more deadly.
#19 Posted by VaguelyTagged (10429 posts) -

there is thisjapanese flick titled "sayonara jupiter" in which jupiter get's nuked in order to become another sun for earth since the sun is dying for some reason.seen this movie long long time ago so what i gave you as the plot line probably wasn't accurate but i'm sure you'll find it interesting.

#20 Posted by sune_Gem (12463 posts) -

Jupiter's like the tank of the solar system from a MMO raid. It takes all the blows from the meteorite mobs.

So without it, the raid would pretty much wipe.

#21 Posted by Dogswithguns (10984 posts) -
Can we please solve problems here on earth first... ?!
#22 Posted by Jackc8 (8500 posts) -

I would think you'd need some reason for Jupiter to explode, which would be kind of tough because it's been relatively stable for billions of years. But if you did take all that gas and blast it apart, Earth would probably suck a whole bunch of hydrogen up via its gravity. Probably make for some pretty spectacular aurora borealis.

#23 Posted by playmynutz (6406 posts) -
I imagine if jupiter became a small star that it would illuminate the asteroid belt beautifully. if any small change happen to our solar system let alone a planet exploding, it would be a disaster possibly destroying the whole solar system by such a change