What Is the Oldest Planet in the Solar System?

Less than a million years after the beginning of our Solar System, Jupiter began to coalesce around a rocky core. Millions of years later, Jupiter has become the largest planet in the Solar System and, according to new research from scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, it is also the oldest planet. The research centered around chemical analysis of ancient meteorites that have landed on Earth -- typically hunks of space rock that came from the large asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

In the beginning, there was Jupiter:

  • Composed of cosmic leftovers from the formation of our Solar System, asteroids bear chemical fingerprints from the "Big Bang" in the form of isotopes, which help scientists determine age and origin.

  • The researchers believe that Jupiter's solid core grew to 20 times the size of the Earth in its first million years. Presumably, Jupiter’s gravity "gobbled up" much of the debris that was swirling around.

  • The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter is 2.5 times larger than all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter and Saturn are considered gas giants, while the other two giant planets in our solar system, Uranus and Neptune, are known as ice giants.

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More Info: The Washington Post

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