|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.
|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|
Portraits of the giant planets. Jupiter & Saturn are the two largest planets in the Solar System; in composition and structure they are inbetween planets and stars. Uranus & Neptune are smaller worlds with rocky cores and mantles of water & ice.
Combining images from several sources, this movie shows storm-like features in Neptune's atmosphere passing as the planet spins about its axis.
Orbital motion of Jupiter's four largest satellites for Jan. 1 - 15, 1610. During these weeks these satellites were discovered by Galileo [source]. Animations made using images from NASA's Solar System Simulator.
Callisto has an ancient, heavily cratered surface. The other three show evidence of past and present activity; Ganymede has plate-like features, Europa a frozen ocean which swiftly fills in impact craters, and Io is the most volcanic object in the Solar System!
Enceladus, a fairly small satellite, nonetheless has diverse terrain indicating recent activity. Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn, is shrouded in thick clouds; these images were made using infrared light.
The satellites of Uranus are rather small and dark. Oberon, Titania, & Umbriel have ancient cratered surfaces, while Ariel & Miranda show signs of activity after the heavy bombardment ended.
Triton has smooth plains as well as `cantaloupe terrain'; these were probably produced by the slow flowing of gas-rich ices.
The rings of Saturn are bright lumps of ice orbiting the planet. Subtle gravitational effects have arranged the material into thousands of `ringlets'.
This pair of Space Telescope pictures of Uranus show its rings and some of its many satellites. The rotation of the planet and the orbital motions of the satellites are visible.
Computer simulation showing how the tidal disruption of a small satellite can lead to the formation of a ring.
Homework 7: Satellites of Jupiter, due 10/16.
Quiz 7: Planetary Innards, given 10/11.
Last modified: October 11, 2001