If Saturn and Jupiter collided, would they become one planet?

We explore the possibility of the two major heavyweights in the Solar System colliding in epic fashion


In one scenario, Jupiter could acquire a thick ring from Saturn. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Asked by Adam Kane

The results of this scenario would depend entirely on how they collided. If the two objects smashed into each other they would experience a large amount of disruption, spreading material around the local vicinity. Some of this material could coalesce into a resultant object that could qualify as a planet. This coalescing scenario would be more likely if the planets merged together slowly. So, it is possible that we may have one larger object left. However, on average, Jupiter and Saturn are 650 million kilometres (403 million miles) apart, and so for them to collide/merge, some major Solar System shifts would need to happen. This means that it is likely the product of their collision would be the least of our worries.

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