Earth Sciences 1086F/G Chapter Notes - Chapter 14-16: Rotating Magnetic Field, Gas Giant, Galilean Moons

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Unit 5: The Gas Giant Planets
1. Introduction
Sometimes known as Jovian or ice giants
Gas Giant Planet - A large, low-density planet composed primarily of hydrogen,
helium, methane, and ammonia in either gaseous or liquid state
Four gas giants in our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
Common features
oAll have atmosphere of hydrogen and helium (with more hydrogen than
helium)
oJupiter and Saturn have a gradual boundary between atmosphere and body
oUranus and Neptune have a sharp bounding surface between gas and liquid
oAll have very hot cores
Cores are ‘rocky’ mix of heavy elements in a solid state
oall are surrounded by systems of rings and natural satellites
oAll rotate rapidly, resulting in strong atmospheric winds that produce cloud
bands that parallel their equators
2. Origin of the Giant Gases
Formed within the first 10 million years of the development of a star-planet system
Liquid elements would gather and freeze in the colder outer reaches of the system,
there they would grow
These larger masses would start to clear and path/orbit
Protoplanets would be tossed around and either absorbed into planets (probably
Jupiter) or flung into the sung/become asteroids
3. Comet Impact on an Gas Giant
3.1. Comet Impact on Jupiter
Because of its strong gravity, Jupiter gets hit with comets more often
than any other planet
The impacts on Jupiter resulted in a better understanding of the
nature of Jupiter's atmosphere
Chapter 14: Jupiter
1. Introduction
Biggest member of the gas giant family
Io – inner most of the four Galilean satellites
Great Red Spot – a continuous swirling vortex of clouds
Has about 67 satellites, but four are very interesting
1. Io – the most volcanically active body in the solar system
2. Europa – has significant liquid water ocean beneath its ice surface
3. Ganymede – has a water ‘slush’ ocean beneath a solid ice cover
4. Callisto – a body that never chemically differentiated
Rings were discovered in 1979 by Voyager 1
oComposed of dust particles
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oNot as bright as Saturn’s rings
2. (Notable) Missions to Jupiter
Pioneer 10
oReturned over 500 images during a fly-by in 1973
oHas now left the solar system
Pioneer 11
oFly-by in 1974
oMeasured Jupiter’s charged particle and magnetic field
oHas now left the solar system
Galileo
oOnly craft to orbit Jupiter
oStudied atmosphere, satellites, and magnetosphere
oAfter 14 years it was destroyed by sending it crashing into Jupiter’s
atmosphere
oFirst probe to fly past an asteroid
oChanged the way we think of the solar system
New Horizon
oPassed Jupiter in 2007, took good photos of it
Juno
oTravelled deep into space, then back to Erath for a ‘gravity assist’ then back
out towards Jupiter
oShould arrive by July 2016
oHelp scientists understand earliest history of the solar system, as Jupiter was
the first planet to form
3. Planetary Facts
5.3 AU
67 satellites (4 big ones)
One main ring and one minor ring
3.1. Orbit and Rotation
Has a very fast rotational period
Has a detectable oblateness (bulges slightly at the equator) as it
rotates very quickly
4. Interior Heat Engine
Doesn’t have a body filled with gas, its hydrogen atmosphere which turns into liquid
hydrogen then into ‘metallic’ hydrogen and finally a heavy metal core
Jupiter actually emits about 1.7 times as much energy as it receives from the Sun
the source of Jupiter's excess energy is the slow compaction of the planet
5. The Magnetosphere
As a magnetic field (the strongest field in the solar system)
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magnetic field efficiently traps electrically charged particles (from the solar wind)
and shapes them into a teardrop form of magnetosphere of radiation around the
planet
The trapped charged particles are so abundant, that they would do damage to
instruments of any spacecraft flown through the magnetosphere
On Jupiter the magnetosphere produces auroras the same way it does on Earth
(except they are more powerful)
6. Atmosphere
Below the clouds of Jupiter lies the largest ocean in the Solar System – and it has no
surface and no waves
Galileo probe carried the Atmosphere Structure Instrument (ASI)
Probe was sent into the atmosphere of Jupiter
Probe detected extremely strong winds and very intense turbulence during its
descent through Jupiter's thick atmosphere
oConfirms the theories that the energy source driving Jupiter's circulation
phenomena is heat escaping from the interior of the planet
No data to suggest evidence of water clouds
Jovian environment caused the probe’s communication to fail
The clouds of Jupiter are organised into
oBelts – shades of reddish brown, appear to be in regions of
descending gas
oare low-pressure regions with sinking gas and lower
clouds that are not as brightly lit
oZones – white or yellow, appear in regions of rising gas
appear to be high-pressure regions of rising gas that cools as it rises
and forms clouds higher in the atmosphere where they receive more
sunlight and look brighter
Winds blowing hundreds of kilometers per hour separate the belts and zones
Belts and zones are highly stable large-scale circulations in the liquid interior cause
these winds and organize the overall belt-zone pattern
Heat rising from the interior drives convection and generates
circulating storms
7. Geology of Jupiter
No hard surface = no geology!
8. Jupiter’s Family
The Galilean Moons – four objects that orbit around Jupiter
Satellites fall into three classifications (not just specific to Jupiter)
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