SUMMARY: The jovian planets space essentially huge balls the gas, each surrounding by many moons and also rings.

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Sections:CompositionRotationMoons and also RingsWhy for this reason different?AtmospheresInteriorsRelated linksRelated Lessons:Jupiter"s relative SizeThe an excellent Red point out PinwheelCan Photosynthesis take place at Saturn?Patterns and also FingerprintsUsing Spectral Data To discover Saturn and Titan

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune jointly make up the group known as the jovian planets. The general structures of the jovian planets are opposite those that the terrestrial planets. Quite than having actually thin atmospheres around relatively huge rocky bodies, the jovian planets have fairly small, dense cores surrounding by massive great of gas. Made nearly entirely that hydrogen and helium, this planets perform not have actually solid surfaces.

The Jovian Planets(click come enlarge)
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How Rotation Affects planet Shapes(click to enlarge)

Unlike the spherical shapes of terrestrial planets, the jovian planets are all contempt oblong. The jovian planets revolve much much faster than any kind of of the terrestrial worlds. Heaviness by itself would make a planet spherical, yet their rapid rotation flattens out their spherical shapes by flinging material near the equator outward.

Observations the clouds at different latitudes suggest that the jovian planets rotate at different speeds near their equators than close to their poles.JOVIAN "DAYS"Jupiter : 10 hoursSaturn : 10 hoursUranus : 16-17 hoursNeptune : 16-17 hours

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After size, maybe the most noticeable difference between the jovian and terrestrial planets entails moons and also rings. The terrestrial planets are nearly isolated worlds, with only planet (1 moon) and Mars (2 moons) orbited by any type of moons in ~ all. In contrast, many moons and rings orbit every of the jovian planets.

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All four jovian planets have rings, although just Saturn"s rings are conveniently visible indigenous Earth. Rings room composed that countless tiny pieces the rock and also ice, every orbiting its earth like a small moon. The rings look flat due to the fact that the particles every orbit in basically the exact same plane. The rings are located closer come the planets than any of your moderately size or large moons, but the inner sheet of the rings is tho well over the planet"s cloud tops.


Jupiter through its moons Europa (closest in) and Callisto aligned with the planet"s center.(click come enlarge)