SUMMARY: The jovian planets are essentially huge balls of gas, each surrounding by numerous moons and also rings.

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Sections:CompositionRotationMoons and also RingsWhy for this reason different?AtmospheresInteriorsRelated linksRelated Lessons:Jupiter"s loved one SizeThe great Red spot PinwheelCan Photosynthesis take place at Saturn?Patterns and FingerprintsUsing Spectral Data To discover Saturn and Titan

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and also Neptune jointly make increase the team known together the jovian planets. The basic structures that the jovian planets space opposite those of the terrestrial planets. Fairly than having actually thin atmospheres around relatively huge rocky bodies, the jovian planets have fairly small, thick cores surrounded by massive layers of gas. Made practically entirely that hydrogen and also helium, these planets do 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 room all slightly oblong. The jovian planets rotate much faster than any type of of the terrestrial worlds. Heaviness by itself would certainly make a earth spherical, yet their rapid rotation flattens the end their spherical forms by flinging material near the equator outward.

Observations of clouds at different latitudes suggest that the jovian planets revolve 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 requires moons and rings. The terrestrial planets are virtually isolated worlds, through only planet (1 moon) and Mars (2 moons) orbited by any type of moons at all. In contrast, many moons and rings orbit each of the jovian planets.

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All four jovian planets have actually rings, although only Saturn"s rings are conveniently visible native Earth. Rings room composed that countless little pieces of rock and ice, every orbiting its world like a tiny moon. The rings look flat since the particles all orbit in basically the very same plane. The ring are located closer come the planets than any kind of of their moderately sized or big moons, however the inner sheet of the rings is quiet well over the planet"s cloud tops.


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