Jupiter and Saturn: Lords of the Planets Chapter

Jupiter and Saturn: Lords of the Planets Chapter

Jupiter and Saturn: Lords of the Planets Chapter Fourteen Guiding Questions 1. Why is the best month to see Jupiter different from one year to the next? 2. Why are there important differences between the atmospheres of

Jupiter and Saturn? 3. What is going on in Jupiters Great Red Spot? 4. What is the nature of the multicolored clouds of Jupiter and Saturn? 5. What does the chemical composition of Jupiters atmosphere imply about the planets origin? 6. How do astronomers know about the deep interiors of Jupiter and Saturn? 7. How do Jupiter and Saturn generate their intense magnetic fields? 8. Why would it be dangerous for humans to visit certain parts of the

space around Jupiter? 9. How was it discovered that Saturn has rings? 10.Are Saturns rings actually solid bands that encircle the planet? 11.How uniform and smooth are Saturns rings? 12.How do Saturns satellites affect the character of its rings? Jupiter and Saturn are the most massive planets in the solar system Jupiter and Saturn are both

much larger than Earth Each is composed of 71% hydrogen, 24% helium, and 5% all other elements by mass Both planets have a higher percentage of heavy elements than does the Sun

Jupiter and Saturn both rotate so rapidly that the planets are noticeably flattened Long orbital periods of Jupiter and Saturn cause favorable viewing times to shift Unlike the terrestrial planets, Jupiter and Saturn

exhibit differential rotation Atmospheres The visible surfaces of Jupiter and Saturn are actually the tops of their clouds

The rapid rotation of the planets twists the clouds into dark belts and light zones that run parallel to the equator

The outer layers of both planets atmospheres show differential rotation The equatorial regions rotate slightly faster than the polar regions For both Jupiter and Saturn, the

polar rotation rate is nearly the same as the internal rotation rate Spacecraft images show remarkable activity in the clouds of Jupiter and Saturn Storms Both Jupiter and Saturn emit more energy than

they receive from the Sun Presumably both planets are still cooling The colored ovals visible in the Jovian atmosphere represent gigantic storms Some, such as the Great Red Spot, are quite stable and persist for

many years Storms in Saturns atmosphere seem to be shorter-lived The internal heat of Jupiter and Saturn has a major effect on the planets atmospheres A space probe has explored Jupiters deep

atmosphere There are presumed to be three cloud layers in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn The reasons for the distinctive colors of these different layers are not yet known The cloud layers in Saturns atmosphere are spread out over a greater range of altitude than those of Jupiter, giving Saturn a more washed-out appearance Saturns atmosphere contains less helium than Jupiters

atmosphere This lower abundance may be the result of helium raining downward into the planet Helium rainfall may also account for Saturns surprisingly strong heat output The oblateness of Jupiter and Saturn reveals their rocky cores Jupiter probably has a rocky core

several times more massive than the Earth The core is surrounded by a layer of liquid ices (water, ammonia, methane, and associated compounds) On top of this is a layer of helium and liquid metallic hydrogen and an outermost layer composed

primarily of ordinary hydrogen and helium Saturns internal structure is similar to that of Jupiter, but its core makes up a larger fraction of its volume and its liquid metallic hydrogen mantle is shallower than that of Jupiter

Metallic hydrogen inside Jupiter and Saturn endows the planets with strong magnetic fields Jupiter and Saturn have strong magnetic fields created by currents in the metallic hydrogen layer Jupiters huge magnetosphere contains a vast current sheet of electrically charged particles Saturns magnetic field and magnetosphere are much less extensive than Jupiters

Jupiter and Saturn have extensive magnetospheres The Jovian magnetosphere encloses a low-density plasma of charged particles The magnetosphere exists in a delicate balance between pressures from the plasma and from the solar wind When this balance is disturbed, the size of the magnetosphere fluctuates drastically

Synchrotron Radiation Charged particles in the densest portions of Jupiters magnetosphere emit synchrotron radiation at radio wavelengths Earth-based observations reveal three broad rings encircling Saturn

Saturn is circled by a system of thin, broad rings lying in the plane of the planets equator This system is tilted away from the plane of Saturns orbit, which causes the rings to be seen at various angles by an Earth-based observer over the course of a Saturnian year

Saturns rings are composed of numerous icy fragments, while Jupiters rings are made of small rocky particles The principal rings of Saturn are composed of numerous particles of ice and ice-coated rock ranging in size from a few micrometers to about 10 m Jupiters faint rings are composed of a relatively small amount of small, dark, rocky particles that reflect very

little light Most of its rings exist inside the Roche limit of Saturn, where disruptive tidal forces are stronger than the gravitational forces attracting the ring particles to each other Each of Saturns major rings is composed of a great many narrow ringlets

The faint F ring, which is just outside the A ring, is kept narrow by the gravitational pull of shepherd satellites Saturns rings consist of thousands of narrow, closely spaced ringlets Saturns inner satellites affect the appearance and structure of its rings

Key Words

A ring B ring belts brown oval C ring Cassini division current sheet

D ring decametric radiation decimetric radiation differential rotation E ring Encke gap F ring G ring Great Red Spot

hot spot

internal rotation period light scattering liquid metallic hydrogen noble gases nonthermal radiation, oblate, oblateness plasma

ring particles ringlets Roche limit shepherd satellite synchrotron radiation thermal radiation tidal force white oval zonal winds


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