EXPERIMENTS MAY FORCE REVISION OF ASTROPHYSICAL MODELS
Experiments May Force Revision of Astrophysical Models: Ice Giant Planets Have More Water Volume Than Believed
The idea of compressing water is foreign to our daily experience. Nevertheless, an accurate estimate of water's shrinking volume under the huge gravitational pressures of large planets is essential to astrophysicists trying to model the evolution of the universe. They need to assume how much space is taken up by water trapped under high density and pressure, deep inside a planet, to calculate how much is needed of other elements to flesh out the planet's astronomical image.
In a challenge to current astrophysical models, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Rostock in Germany have found that current calibrations of planetary interiors overstate water's compressibility by as much as 30 percent. The work was reported in the paper "Probing the Interior of the Ice Giants" in the Feb. 27 Physical Review Letters.
"Our results question science's understanding of the internal structure of these planets," said Sandia lead author Marcus Knudson, "and should require revisiting essentially all the modeling of ice giants within and outside our solar system."
- EXPERIMENTS MAY FORCE REVISION OF ASTROPHYSICAL MODELS - Theresa, 2012-03-20, 14:20