Temperature measurements of shock-compressed liquid hydrogen: implications for the interior of Jupiter

Science  01 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5228, pp. 1249-1252
DOI: 10.1126/science.7652570


Shock temperatures of hydrogen up to 5200 kelvin were measured optically at pressures up to 83 gigapascals (830 kilobars). At highest pressures, the measured temperatures are substantially lower than predicted. These lower temperatures are caused by a continuous dissociative phase transition above 20 gigapascals. Because hydrogen is in thermal equilibrium in shock-compression experiments, the theory derived from the shock data can be applied to Jupiter. The planet's molecular envelope is cooler and has much less temperature variation than previously believed. The continuous dissociative phase transition suggests that there is no sharp boundary between Jupiter's molecular mantle and its metallic core. A possible convectively quiescent boundary layer might induce an additional layer in the molecular region, as has been predicted.