• The Star Staff

Jupiter’s biggest moons started as tiny grains of hail


By Shannon Stirone


Konstantin Batygin did not set out to solve one of the solar system’s most puzzling mysteries when he went for a run up a hill in Nice, France. Batygin, a researcher at the California Institute of Technology, best known for his contributions to the search for the solar system’s missing “Planet Nine,” spotted a beer bottle. At a steep, 20-degree grade, he wondered why it was not rolling down the hill.


He realized there was a breeze at his back holding the bottle in place. Then he had a thought that would only pop into the mind of a theoretical astrophysicist: “Oh! This is how Europa formed.”


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