External photoevaporation of the solar nebula: Jupiter's noble gas enrichments

Nikhil Monga, Steven Desch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We present a model explaining the elemental enrichments in Jupiter's atmosphere, particularly the noble gases Ar, Kr, and Xe. While He, Ne, and O are depleted, seven other elements show similar enrichments (∼3 times solar, relative to H). Being volatile, Ar is difficult to fractionate from H2. We argue that external photoevaporation by far-ultraviolet (FUV) radiation from nearby massive stars removed H2, He, and Ne from the solar nebula, but Ar and other species were retained because photoevaporation occurred at large heliocentric distances where temperatures were cold enough (≲30 K) to trap them in amorphous water ice. As the solar nebula lost H, it became relatively and uniformly enriched in other species. Our model improves on the similar model of Guillot & Hueso. We recognize that cold temperatures alone do not trap volatiles; continuous water vapor production is also necessary. We demonstrate that FUV fluxes that photoevaporated the disk generated sufficient water vapor in regions ≲30K to trap gas-phase species in amorphous water ice in solar proportions.We find more efficient chemical fractionation in the outer disk: whereas the model of Guillot & Hueso predicts a factor of three enrichment when only <2% of the disk mass remains, we find the same enrichments when 30% of the disk mass remains. Finally, we predict the presence of ∼0.1 M of water vapor in the outer solar nebula and protoplanetary disks in H II regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Planets and satellites: gaseous planets
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'External photoevaporation of the solar nebula: Jupiter's noble gas enrichments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this