On most websites that I looked at, it says Jupiter is shrinking 2cm/year (for example wikipedia and Quora). However neither of these website say whether this rate is measurable (the latter says it is a theoretical prediction to answer why Jupiter is so "hot").

Is this rate directly measurable, (maybe by shooting a laser at Jupiter and measuring how long it takes to reflect)? If it is not measurable yet, then is that completely outside of what we hope to achieve in the next 50 years?

  • $\begingroup$ Note: if you don't get good answers here, you might also want to try astronomy.stackexchange (that doesn't mean you should or have to try, the question is good and on topic here). $\endgroup$ – Martin Jul 4 '16 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin I thought cross-posting was considered bad, or did you mean I should ask for it to be migrated? $\endgroup$ – Strategy Thinker Jul 4 '16 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @StrategyThinker, Martin is just saying if you don't get an answer here you can try it somewhere else; for now, it's fine here. $\endgroup$ – heather Jul 4 '16 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ Please can you provide a link(s) to your source(s). It is difficult to comment on a claim when you don't identify who has made it. Don't those sources explain how those estimates were measured? $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Jul 4 '16 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ @sammygerbil I have added some links. $\endgroup$ – Strategy Thinker Jul 4 '16 at 22:13

Considering the stormy nature of Jupiter's atmosphere, and the planet's vast size, no I don't think that kind of shrinkage rate is significant, and therefore not measurable. Moreover, it is certainly not the kind of useful information which it is worth the effort trying to obtain.


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