The Giant planets Lesson 8. 8 Introduction: Gas giants fall into different categories. So-called “traditional” gas giants include Jupiter. Jupiter is such a classic example of a gas giant that gas giants are often referred to as Jovian planets despite the fact that some gas giants ,ice giants for instance are very different from Jupiter. Traditional gas giants have high levels of hydrogen and helium. Another category of gas giants is ice giants. Ice giants are also composed of small amounts of hydrogen and helium; however, they have high levels of what are called “ices. These ices include methane, water, and ammonia. I. Objectives: A. Identify the different kinds of giants planet B. Explain the structure of the giants planets II. Learning Content: There are four gas giants in our Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. As noted, Jupiter is a traditional gas giant. Saturn is also a traditional gas giant. However, Uranus and Neptune are ice giants. Their blue color is due to the large amounts of methane in the planets. All of the gas giants in our Solar System have planetary ring system, and they are all much larger than the terrestrial planets in the Solar System.
All of the gas giants in our Solar System also have many moons. Again, Jupiter holds the record with 63 moons discovered so far. Outer Planets For the outer planets, the division is more distinct, with the inner two gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn being quite different in many ways from the outer two gas giants, Uranus and Neptune. In terms of size, Saturn, with a diameter of 120,000km is not a world away from Jupiter, with a 142,000km diameter. However the other two planets, Uranus and Neptune have diameters of ‘only’ 51,800km and 50,000km respectively – roughly the size of the core of Saturn or Jupiter.
This large size difference is responsible for many other differences between the two groups, for instance Jupiter and Saturn both have sufficiently high internal pressures to ‘squeeze’ large quantities of Hydrogen into a metallic state in their cores, whilst Uranus and Neptune can produce only a tiny fraction of this amount. As a consequence, their magnetic fields are much smaller than those of Saturn and Jupiter, whose magnetic fields are generated in large part thanks to electrical currents moving through this material. JUPITER| SATURN| URANUS| Diameter| 142,600 km|
Average Distance from Sun| 778,412,010 km| Mass| 1. 90 x 1027 kg| Size compared to Earth| 11x| Gravity compared to Earth| 2. 34x| Surface Temperature| 165 K| Length of day| 9 hours 50 minutes| Length of year| 11. 84 years| Eccentricity of Orbit| 0. 048| Density| 1. 33 gm/cm3| Moons| 63| Atmosphere| Hydrogen – 90% Helium – 10% Traces of Methane & Ammonia| | Diameter| 120,200 km| Average Distance from Sun| 1,427 million km| Mass| 5. 68 x 1026 kg| Size Compared to Earth (Diameter)| 9x| Gravity compared to Earth| 0. 93x| Cloud-Top Temperature| -180°C| Length of Day| 10 hours 14 mins|
Length of Year| 29. 46 Earth years| Eccentricity of Orbit| 0. 056| Moons| 30+| Density| 0. 70gm/cm3| Atmosphere| Hydrogen – 94% Helium – 6% Traces of Methane, Ammonia & Water Vapour| | Diameter| 51,800 km| Average Distance from Sun| 2,871 million km 19. 2AU| Mass| 8. 68 x 1025 kg| Size compared to Earth (Diameter)| 4x| Gravity compared to Earth| 0. 79x| Surface temperature| -210°C| Length of Day| 17 hours 14 mins(Retrograde)| Length of Year| 84. 01 Earth years| Eccentricity of Orbit| 0. 046| Moons| 21| Density| 1. 30gm/cm3| Atmosphere| Hydrogen – 85% Helium – 13% Methane – 2%| |
Diameter| 49,528 km| Average Distance from Sun| 4,501 million