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[link] illustrates the likely interior structures of the four jovian planets. It appears that all four have similar cores of rock and ice. On Jupiter and Saturn, the cores constitute only a few percent of the total mass, consistent with the initial composition of raw materials shown in [link] . However, most of the mass of Uranus and Neptune resides in these cores, demonstrating that the two outer planets were unable to attract massive quantities of hydrogen and helium when they were first forming.

Internal structures of the jovian planets.

Illustration of the Internal Structures of the Giant Planets. The internal structure of each of the four giant planets are drawn as inverted cones, with the apex representing the center of the planet, and each cone divided into several sections. Each cone has numbers along its left side, increasing upward, labeling the radius (r) of each section in km. Each section is labeled according to its composition. Beginning at left is Jupiter. Beginning at the center out to r = 7 is “Rock”, from r = 7 to 14 is “Ice”, from r=14 to 59 is “Metallic hydrogen” and finally from r = 59 to 71 is “Molecular hydrogen”. Next is Saturn, beginning from the center to r = 8 is “Rock”, from r = 8 to 16 is “Ice”, from r = 16 to 30 is “Metallic hydrogen” and finally from r = 30 to 60 is “Molecular hydrogen”. Continuing to the right is Uranus, beginning from the center to r = 8 is “Rock”, from r = 8 to 18 is “Ice” and finally from r = 18 to 26 is “Molecular hydrogen”. And lastly at right is Neptune, beginning from the center to r = 10 is “Rock”, from r = 10 to 20 is “Ice” and finally from r = 20 to 25 is “Molecular hydrogen”.
Jupiter and Saturn are composed primarily of hydrogen and helium (but hydrogen dominates), but Uranus and Neptune consist in large part of compounds of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. (The diagrams are drawn to scale; numbers show radii in thousands of kilometers.)

Internal heat sources

Because of their large sizes, all the giant planets were strongly heated during their formation by the collapse of surrounding material onto their cores. Jupiter, being the largest, was the hottest. Some of this primordial heat can still remain inside such large planets. In addition, it is possible for giant, largely gaseous planets to generate heat after formation by slowly contracting. (With so large a mass, even a minuscule amount of shrinking can generate significant heat.) The effect of these internal energy sources is to raise the temperatures in the interiors and atmospheres of the planets higher than we would expect from the heating effect of the Sun alone.

Jupiter has the largest internal energy source, amounting to 4 × 10 17 watts; that is, it is heated from inside with energy equivalent to 4 million billion 100-watt lightbulbs. This energy is about the same as the total solar energy absorbed by Jupiter. The atmosphere of Jupiter is therefore something of a cross between a normal planetary atmosphere (like Earth’s), which obtains most of its energy from the Sun, and the atmosphere of a star, which is entirely heated by an internal energy source. Most of the internal energy of Jupiter is primordial heat, left over from the formation of the planet 4.5 billon years ago.

Saturn has an internal energy source about half as large as that of Jupiter, which means (since its mass is only about one quarter as great) that it is producing twice as much energy per kilogram of material as does Jupiter. Since Saturn is expected to have much less primordial heat, there must be another source at work generating most of this 2 × 10 17 watts of power. This source is the separation of helium from hydrogen in Saturn’s interior. In the liquid hydrogen mantle, the heavier helium forms droplets that sink toward the core, releasing gravitational energy. In effect, Saturn is still differentiating—letting lighter material rise and heavier material fall.

Uranus and Neptune are different. Neptune has a small internal energy source, while Uranus does not emit a measurable amount of internal heat. As a result, these two planets have almost the same atmospheric temperature, in spite of Neptune’s greater distance from the Sun. No one knows why these two planets differ in their internal heat, but all this shows how nature can contrive to make each world a little bit different from its neighbors.

Questions & Answers

why the dark side of moon never face us? because moon dont rotate? why tho
Rishabh Reply
im in 8th standard and my school teach us nothing about astronomy but i want to be an astronomer so i study from youtube and apps like this but sometimes i get language problems
Rishabh
dark**
Glory
side**
Glory
The Moon does actually rotate. It takes 27 days for the Moon to make a full rotation. Because it takes it so long and the Earth is rotating around the sun, it seems like the Moon is pretty much standing still. That's called "synchronous rotation".
steveh259
I ment to say "The Earth is orbiting around the sun"
steveh259
Tidal Locked.....
Adam
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
thats cool
Gospel
ya gives you a look at how the moon orbits around us too and a perspective of how fast we are going. also gives the moon phases for the year! enjoy 😁
Collins
what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
Florence Reply
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
Collins
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
How to determine the velocity of light?
PARTHIB Reply
using this formula c=1/√absolute permeability×absolute permittivity of free space i.e. c=1/√8.854×10^-12×4π×10^-7~3×10^8ms^-1
Vidyashankar
what is mean by Big Bang
block Reply
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
Glory
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
Adam
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Gospel
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
Rafael
should there be only 1 universe?
Rafael
universe.
Rafael
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
FNAF Reply
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
Glory
if your already interested/observing, your already an astronomer ! The more you look and read the more you'll learn.
Collins
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
Wwe
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
Collins
suggest a channel as a example
Wwe
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
Collins
thank you so much
Wwe
your very welcome
Collins
Why are they so far away that their light takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us on earth?
LadyCatTM Reply
what is comets , astroids ,
Sumit Reply
comets are broken pieces of dust frozen debris Asteroids are big soiled pieces of Ice that burst into flames when it in to earth's atmosphere
Glory
hi, I am yamini, I am in class 8 but very much interested in astronomy and go to NASA, what are the subjects in which I can master and lead to NASA.
yamini Reply
Hello Yamini, Im Ken and I'm avery intrested in joining the NASA too. Is nice to meet you.
Ken
very*
Ken
nice to meet u ken
yamini
What I know about the subjects is that you have to be a master on science and math, also if you know about aviation is better too
Ken
I read that the Russian language is very important, is not a requirement but it's like an extra point!
Ken
yeah like physics, chemistry and maths, they are my most favorite.
yamini
than you can go free of cost
Arush
Yes, That's right!
Ken
how
yamini
Oh! Free of cost?
Ken
hello yamini nice to meet you
Burak
wow from NASA ur so lucky
FNAF
hello yamini nice to meet you
block
what is time
Abdul Reply
Time is relative
mrunal
pls elaborate
sakshi
the clear defination.I know that.
Abdul
In planet mars there the life exits or not and is there water there
Eshwarsa Reply
see till now nothing can be found as u know that the curiosity rover has struck in mars
Maya
It has been proven that there are water molecules on Mars but not enough that most lifeforms could thrive upon.
Ariana
There are huge amounts of water in the ice caps and under the surface. The surface and chemistry indicate that Mars had cosiderable amounts of water on its surface in the past.
Julius
what is your opinion about the theory of Vedas about modern physics..
Manish Reply
i think in some ways vedas are also correct but not everytime
Maya
I agree
sakshi
hmm even I agree
Samuel
Is there any patened theory about time relativitg in growth and development?
donot Reply
some astronomer's says that there is no alien exist but why search for extra terrestrial intelligence center is established
Eshwarsa Reply
No One Knows That For Absolute Fact, The Universe Is Too Huge To Have Any Type Of Idea About What Exist In The Far Reaches Of Our Universe.....
Adam
Check Out The Drake Equation.....
Adam
their should be aliens as like ours there would be another planet
Maya
which could have existed life on it
Maya
adam i want to ask a question
Maya
can kepler 1st law be applied on all the planets of the universe
Maya
hello, anyone home?
Denise
guys listen we cannot ever find aliens because our technology is not that great.we don't know whether they exist or no because our universe is very large . Just for an example;even if we spot out aliens we cannot reach there because lot of time must have been passed and before us reaching there
Samuel
what if their species or existence might get vanished our have been extinct!! getting my point
Samuel
sjskskfhjkkktewqqw and try?
Lanika Reply
what is this ?
Samuel
hi I am Samuel from India mumbai
Samuel
nice to meet you
Samuel
thats my question, what is this?
penzias and wilson's a discovery of the cosmic microwave background is a nice example of scientific serendipity-something that is found by chance but turns out to have a positive outcome
Jacqueline Reply
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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