The Giant Planets Beyond Mars and the asteroids are the giant or Jovian planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune Pluto is part of the outer solar system but will be considered with the moons of the Jovian planets These planets are dramatically different from the terrestrial planets The Jovian planets formed much farther from Sun in a much cooler environment Volatile materials remained frozen Planets retained significantly more solid material Larger mass allowed these planets to retain the primordial hydrogen and helium Chemistry became reducing rather than oxydyzing Many compounds of hydrogen ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12
1 Current Positions of the Jovian Planets Oct. 5, 2001 Saturn Jupiter Uranus Neptune ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 2 Exploration of the Outer Solar System Six spacecraft have explored the solar system past the asteroid belt Challenges of these flights are many Distances are huge, flight times are years Communication is difficult, light hours away Spacecraft must be able to carry out instructions and handle problems independently
Require large antennae and powerful transmitters Solar power is insufficient Nuclear power The first spacecraft to the outer solar system were Pioneers 10 and 11, launched in 1972 and 1973 Missions were to see if the asteroid belt could be safely navigated and if spacecraft could survive the radiation in the magnetosphere of Jupiter ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 3 Voyager Missions Voyager 1 reached Jupiter in 1979 and went on to Saturn in 1980 Voyager 2 reached Jupiter four months later Voyager Spacecraft
Reached Saturn in 1981 Reached Uranus in 1986 Reached Neptune in 1989 The Voyager missions took advantage of the alignment of the outer planets Used gravity slings to direct Voyager to the next planet Happens once every 175 years QuickTime and a Animation decompressor are needed to see this picture. Movie shows the positions of the planets once a year from 1977 to 1990 ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 4 The Galileo Spacecraft The Galileo spacecraft arrived at Jupiter in December, 1995
On December 7, 1995, Galileo released a probe that descended into the Jovian atmosphere QuickTime and a Sorenson Video decompressor are needed to see this picture. Probe survived for 57 minutes and reached a depth of 200 km and was blown 500 km by Jupiters winds Two hours later Galileo fired its retro rockets and entered orbit around Jupiter Galileo had encounters with several of Jupiters moons (more later) ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 5 The Cassini Spacecraft
The Cassini mission is a collaboration of NASA, European Space Agency, Italian Space Agency Cassini will study Saturn and it moons Cassini was launched October 15, 1997 Cassini will arrive at Saturn in 2004 and will deploy the probe Huygens on the moon Titan QuickTime and a Cinepak decompressor are needed to see this picture. ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 6 Basic Characteristics Planet Distance (AU) Period (y) Density (g/cm3) Rotation (h) Jupiter
1.2 1.2 Neptune 30.1 164.8 49,500 17 1.6 16.1 ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Diameter Mass (Earth=1) (km) Lecture 12 7 Appearance When we look at the giant planets we see only their atmospheres that are composed mainly of hydrogen and helium
Jupiter and Saturn have an upper cloud deck of ammonia crystal (N2H4) Neptune has an upper cloud deck of methane (CH4) Uranus seems to be deep and featureless Jupiter is colorful and dynamic The atmosphere has permanent features Bands Great Red Spot ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Hubble Space Telescope picture of Jupiter, Feb 13, 1995 Lecture 12 8 Rotation The rotation of each of the giant planets is
determined using its magnetic field At 9 h 56 m Jupiter has the shortest rotation time of any planet The other giant planets have similar rotation times The tilt of the rotation axis from being perpendicular to the orbit plane causes seasons Jupiter at 3 degrees has no seasons Saturn and Neptune have tilts around 28 degrees Similar to the terrestrial planets but more slowly Uranus is bizarre with a 98 degree tilt! ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 9 The Bizarre Season of Uranus The axis of rotation of Uranus is almost in the plane of the orbit of Uranus around the Sun Causes bizarre seasons
ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 10 Composition and Structure The giant planets all have similar structures Small rocky core (iron, silicon, oxygen) Layer of ice (compounds of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen with hydrogen) Layer of metallic hydrogen Layer of molecular hydrogen For Jupiter and Saturn, only a few percent of their mass is in the core For Uranus and Neptune, most of their mass resides in the core ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall
Lecture 12 11 Internal Heat Sources The giant planets were strongly heated when they were formed Jupiter has the largest internal heat source resulting from the primordial formation of the planet Emits as much heat as it receives from the Sun Saturn has half the internal heat of Jupiter but one quarter the mass Saturn generates heat by having drops of liquid helium sink toward the core releasing gravitational energy Uranus has no internal heat Neptune has a small amount of internal heat Neptune has about the same temperature at Uranus although it is farther from the Sun ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 12
Magnetic Fields Each of the giant planets has a strong magnetic field created by electric currents in its rapidly spinning interior These magnetic fields generate magnetospheres Regions where the planetary magnetic field dominates the interplanetary magnetic field High speed electrons caught in these magnetospheres emit synchrotron radiation and emit radio waves ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 13 Atmospheres of the Jovian Planets Hydrogen and helium dominate the atmospheres of the Jovian planets Saturn has less helium because of the precipitation of helium that contributes to Saturns internal energy The visible layer of Jupiter and Saturn consists of ammonia The visible layer of Uranus is methane Featureless Neptune has a layer of condensed methane and clear gases above
Gives a blue color similar to Earth One puzzle is the colors of Jupiter and Saturn Should be white Photochemistry ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 14 Winds and Weather The thick atmospheres of the Jovian planets are fundamentally different from the terrestrial planets The Jovian planets spin faster There is no solid surface to impede motion of the atmosphere Except for Uranus, Winds of Jupiter Winds of Saturn
internal heat causes convection currents Features tend to coalesce into bands Bands can move with different speeds On Uranus, the seasonal changes are small ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Lecture 12 15 Storms Superimposed on the regular atmospheric motion are many storms Great Red Spot of Jupiter Seems to be permanent high pressure area Other large features have been observed to change and coalesce
Neptunes Great Dark Spot Has been observed to fade and reappear Great Red Spot of Jupiter and the colored bands ISP 205 - Astronomy Gary D. Westfall Great Dark Spot of Neptune and Scooter Lecture 12 16
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