In anticipation of new observational results for Jupiter’s axial moment of inertia and gravitational zonal harmonic coefficients from the forthcoming Juno orbiter, we present a number of preliminary Jupiter interior models. We combine results from ab initio computer simulations of hydrogen-helium mixtures, including immiscibility calculations, with a new nonperturbative calculation of Jupiter’s zonal harmonic coefficients, to derive a self-consistent model for the planet’s external gravity and moment of inertia. We assume helium rain modified the interior temperature and composition profiles. Our calculation predicts zonal harmonic values to which measurements can be compared. Although some models fit the observed (pre-Juno) second- and fourth-order zonal harmonics to within their error bars, our preferred reference model predicts a fourth-order zonal harmonic whose absolute value lies above the pre-Juno error bars. This model has a dense core of about 12 Earth masses, and a hydrogen-helium-rich envelope with approximately 3 times solar metallicity.
W. Hubbard and B. Militzer
Wed, 17 Feb 16
Comments: 18 figures, 3 tables, in press, Astrophysical Journal