Chapter 11 ASTRO.docx

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2 Apr 2012
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Chapter 11
JOVIAN PLANET SYSTEMS
11.1
All 4 Jovian planets share the properties of immense size and a low density composition
of hydrogen, helium and hydrogen compounds.
Jupiter and Saturn are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium with only a few
percent of their masses in the form of hydrogen compounds and even less in the form of
rock and metal
Composition similar to sun rather than terrestrial planets
Uranus and Neptune are made primarily of hydrogen compounds such as water,
methane, and ammonia and with smaller amounts of metal and rock
Jovian planets formed in the outer solar system, where it was cold enough for hydrogen
compounds to condense into ices. Some the ice rich planetesimals grew to great size
due to the abundance of hydrogen compounds
Neptune’s high density is due to the icy rich planetesimals it formed from
Astronauts use the movement of clouds to determine the rotational period of a Jovian
planet
we can also calculate the orbital period by tracking emissions from charged particles
trapped in the magnetospheres of Jovian planets
Saturn is about 10% larger in diameter at its equator than from pole to pole
The equatorial bulge exerts an extra gravitational pull that helps keep moons and rings
aligned with the Equator
The temperature and pressure increases as you move further into Jupiter’s atmosphere
All except the core of Jupiter is made up of mainly hydrogen and helium
All 4 Jovian planets cores are quite similar in composition and mass
Pressures within Uranus and Neptune are not high enough to form liquid or metallic
hydrogen. Their layer consists of gaseous hydrogen (some maybe liquid buried deep
inside) surrounding its cores.
Jovian planets have NO GEOLOGY
Internal heat of Jovian planets is important for atmospheric processes
Jupiter gradually loses heat in the process of thermal radiation (emits 2x as much
energy as it receives from the Sun)
Jupiter’s excess heat is due to the slow contraction of the planet. Contraction coverts
gravitational potential energy to thermal energy. Therefore, continued contraction
would be the ongoing source of internal heat
Saturn and Neptune also emits 2x as much energy as it receives from the Sun
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