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November 22.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Shohini Ghose

November 22, 2011 Jovian Planet Systems  Voyager 1 and 2 explored the outer planets in the 70’s and 80’s  The Galileo spacecraft circled Jupiter dozens of times in the 1990’s  The Cassini Huygens orbiter and probe arrived at Saturn in 2004  Planet origins: o Low density because they formed in the outer solar nebula where water vapour could freeze to form ice particles o Ice accumulated in proto-planets with density lower than rocky terrestrial and asteroids  Compared to terrestrials: o Much larger and more massive o Composed mostly of hydrogen, helium  Inside Jovian Planets: o All cores appear to be similar  Made of rock, metal, and Hydrogen compounds  10x the mass of Earth o Uranus and Neptune captured less gas from the Solar nebula  Accretion of planetesimals took longer  Not much time for gas captures before nebula was cleared out by Solar wind o Only Jupiter and Saturn have high enough pressure for H & He to exist in liquid and metallic states  Jupiter and other Jovian planets are all slightly flattened  A world with a large rocky core and mantle would not be flattened much by rotation  An all-liquid planet, though, would flatten significantly  Jupiter: o Largest and most massive of the Jovian planets o Contains 71 percent of all the planetary matter in the entire solar system o It emits about twice as much energy as it absorbs from the sun (energy left over from the formation of the planet) o Hydrogen compounds in Jupiter form clouds o Different cloud layers correspond to freezing points of different hydrogen compounds o Like Earth, Jupiter has circulation cells in its atmosphere o Jupiter is much larger and rotates faster o Circulation cells are split into many bands of rising and falling air (stripes) o The so-called:  Zones (rising air)  Belts (Falling air)  Other Jovian planets have cloud layers similar to Jupiter’s  The temperature profile of each planet determines the colour of its appearance  Why Uranus and Neptune are blue: o They have a higher fraction of methane gas, which absorbs red sunlight o Blue light is reflected back into space by the clouds  Jovian Storms: o All the Jovian planets have strong winds and storms o Jupiter’s Great Red Spot: a storm that has existed for at least 300 years  Jovian Magnetospheres: o The strong magnetic field around Jupiter traps particles from the solar wind in lethal radiation belts a billion times more intense than the Van Allen belts that surround Earth o Other planets have smaller and weaker magnetospheres o Fraction of electrically conducting material in interiors is smaller o Solar wind is weaker father out, or else their magnetospheres would be even smaller o We cannot fully explain the magnetic filed tilts of Uranus and Neptune  Satur
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