7. Giant Worlds and Satellites

Last: 6. The Inner Planets Next: 8. The Sun

The outer Solar System contains two planetary behemoths and two planets which are merely enormous by terrestrial standards. Jupiter & Saturn have hundreds of times the Earth's mass; both radiate more energy than they receive from the Sun, and this outflowing energy powers dramatic activity in these planets' magnetized interiors and atmospheres. Uranus & Neptune, though each about 15 times the Earth's mass, are less active. All these planets have systems of satellite and rings shaped by subtle dynamical effects over trillions of orbits, and possibly by collisions as well.

Topics:

Reading:

    Ch. 5 JUPITER (p. 109)
    Ch. 5-14 Jupiter's rotation helps create colorful, global weather patterns
    Ch. 5-15 Jupiter's interior has three distinct regions
    Ch. 5-16 Cometary fragments recently struck Jupiter
    Ch. 5 JUPITER'S MOONS AND RINGS (p. 113)
    Ch. 5-17 Io's surface is sculpted by volcanic activity
    Ch. 5-18 Europa may harbor liquid water below its surface
    Ch. 5-19 Ganymede is larger than Mercury
    Ch. 5-20 Callisto bears the scars of a huge asteroid impact
    Ch. 5-21 Other debris orbits Jupiter as smaller moons and ringlets
    Ch. 5 SATURN (p. 117)
    Ch. 5-22 Saturn's surface and interior are similar to those of Jupiter
    Ch. 5-23 Saturn's spectacular rings are composed of fragments of ice and ice-coated rock
    Ch. 5-24 Titan has a thick, opaque atmosphere rich in nitrogen, methane, and other hydrocarbons
    Ch. 5 URANUS (p. 123)
    Ch. 5-25 Uranus sports a hazy atmosphere and clouds
    Ch. 5-26 A system of rings and satellites revolves around Uranus
    Ch. 5 NEPTUNE (p. 126)
    Ch. 5-27 Neptune was discovered because it had to be there
    Ch. 5-28 Neptune has rings and has captured most of its moons
    Ch. 5 PLUTO AND BEYOND (p. 129)
    Ch. 5-29 Pluto and its moon Charon are about the same size
    Ch. 5-30 Our solar system extends beyond Pluto

Web Resources:

Homework 7: Satellites of Jupiter, due 10/16.

Quiz 7: Planetary Innards, given 10/11.


Joshua E. Barnes (barnes@ifa.hawaii.edu)

Last modified: October 11, 2001
http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~barnes/ast110/gwas.html