# Solar System Physics I

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1 Department of Physics and Astronomy Astronomy 1X Session Solar System Physics I Dr Martin Hendry 6 lectures, beginning Autumn 2006

2 Lectures 4-6: Key Features of the Jovian and Terrestrial Planets The Jovian planets are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune The terrestrial planets are : Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars We can summarise the differences between them as follows:- Terrestrial Planets Jovian Planets See Chapter 6, Table 6.2 Astronomy Today See SSP2 Lectures Lower mass, smaller radii Higher mass, larger radii Near the Sun Distant from the Sun [ Higher surface temperature Lower surface temperature ] Higher average density Lower average density H and He depleted Abundant H and He Solid surface Gaseous / Liquid * Slower rotation period Rapid rotation period No rings Many rings Few satellites Many satellites * Rocky core deep inside

3 Lecture 1: A Tour of the Solar System The Planets: some vital statistics:- Name Diameter* (Earth=1) Mass (Earth=1) Mean distance from the Sun Mercury 4880 km (0.383) kg (0.055) km (0.387 AU) Venus km (0.949) kg (0.815) km (0.723 AU) Earth km (1.000) kg (1.000) km (1.000 AU) Mars 6794 km (0.533) kg (0.107) km (1.524 AU) Jupiter km (11.209) kg (317.8) km (5.203 AU) Saturn km (9.449) kg (95.16) km (9.572 AU) Uranus km (4.007) kg (14.53) km ( AU) Neptune km (3.883) kg (17.15) km ( AU) Pluto ~2300 km (0.18) kg (0.0021) km ( AU) * Equatorial diameter

4 Mass (Earth = 1) Average density (Earth = 1)

5 Average distance from the Sun (AU)

6 Lectures 4-6: Key Features of the Jovian and Terrestrial Planets The Jovian planets are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune The terrestrial planets are : Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars We can summarise the differences between them as follows:- Terrestrial Planets Jovian Planets See SSP2 Lectures Lower mass, smaller radii Higher mass, larger radii Near the Sun Distant from the Sun [ Higher surface temperature Lower surface temperature ] Higher average density Lower average density H and He depleted Abundant H and He Solid surface Gaseous / Liquid * Slower rotation period Rapid rotation period No rings Many rings Few satellites Many satellites * Rocky core deep inside

7 Abundance of H and He We can use the ideal gas argument of Lecture 3 to estimate the temperature required for hydrogen and helium to escape from a planetary atmosphere:- T = = esc = G M k R m ( M P / M Earth ) ( R / R ) P P P Earth = 1 54 µ K G M P µ m k R P H 27 ( M P / M Earth ) ( R / R ) P Earth µ K

8 Abundance of H and He For molecular Hydrogen, µ = 2 so the escape temperature for the Earth is 280 K This explains why the Earth has not retained its atmospheric molecular hydrogen. (In fact, when the solar system was forming, the inner Solar System was too hot to retain lighter elements, such as H and He; these are absent from all terrestrial planet atmospheres. See SSP2 lectures on formation of the solar system.) µ = 28 For, e.g. molecular Nitrogen, so the escape temperature for the Earth is 3920 K So the Earth s atmosphere can retain its molecular nitrogen.

9 Abundance of H and He Plugging in the numbers for the Jovian planets, for molecular Hydrogen; these escape temperatures are so high that the planets will not have lost their atmospheric hydrogen. Planet Radius (Earth=1) Mass (Earth=1) T esc Jupiter K Saturn K Uranus K Neptune K

10 Internal structure of Jupiter K Upper atmosphere: Molecular H 2 + He K 90% H 2 10% He 0.2% CH 4, ammonia, water Lower atmosphere: Metallic H 2 + He K High pressure, density squeezes H 2 Molecular bonds broken; electrons shared, as in a metal liquid metallic hydrogen Core: Dense, soup of rock and liquid ices (water, methane ammonia) of about 15 Earth masses Evidence of internal heating gravitational P.E. released during planetary formation (collapse of gas cloud) Rock (Mg, Si, Fe) and liquid ices Metallic hydrogen gives Jupiter a strong magnetic field (19000 times that of the Earth) [ see SSP2 and A1Y Stellar Astrophysics ] See Chapter 11, Astronomy Today

11 Aurorae on Jupiter

12 Internal structure of Saturn K Upper atmosphere: 97% H 2 3% He 0.2% CH 4, ammonia, water Lower atmosphere: Molecular H 2 + He He depleted Metallic H 2 + He (He enriched) K 8000 K liquid metallic hydrogen (but at much greater depth than in Jupiter due to lower mass and density) Core: Dense, soup of rock and ices (water, methane ammonia) of about 13 Earth masses Rock (Mg, Si, Fe) and liquid ices Internal heating not entirely explained by planetary formation; extra heating from release of P.E. as heavier He sinks. Effect more pronounced for Saturn, as outer atmosphere cooler to begin with Metallic hydrogen gives Saturn a strong magnetic field (but weaker than Jupiter s) See Chapter 12, Astronomy Today

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14 Internal structure of Uranus and Neptune K Upper atmosphere: Uranus Neptune Molecular H 2 + He CH % H 2 15% He 2% CH 4 74% H 2 25% He 1% CH 4 Ionic ocean H 3 O +, NH 4+, OH -, 7000 K 2500 K Lower atmosphere: Pressures not high enough to form liquid metallic hydrogen; weaker magnetic field due to ionic ocean Core: Dense, soup of rock, also about 13 Earth masses Internal heating also important particularly for Neptune (similar surface temperature to Uranus, despite being 1.5 times further from the Sun) Rock (Mg, Si, Fe) Cores of Uranus and Neptune form much higher (70% to 90%) fraction of total mass, compared with Jupiter (5%) and Saturn (14%) See Chapter 13, Astronomy Today

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16 Rotation of the Jovian Planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune rotate very rapidly, given their large radii, compared with the terrestrial planets. Also, the Jovian planets rotate differentially not like a solid body (e.g. a billiard ball) but as a fluid (e.g. grains of rice in a pot of water). We see this very clearly on Jupiter, where the distinct cloud bands and belts rotate at different speeds Planet Rotation Period * Mercury 58.6 days Venus 243 days Earth 24 hours Mars 24 h 37 m Jupiter * 9 h 50 m Saturn * 10 h 14 m Uranus 17 h 14 m Neptune 16 h 7 m Pluto 6.4 days * At Equator

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18 On Jupiter we also see clearly that the cloud belts contain oval structures. These are storms; the most famous being the Great Red Spot. This is a hurricane which has been raging for hundreds of years. It measures about 40000km by 14000km Winds to the north and south of the Great Red Spot blow in opposite directions; winds within the Spot blow counterclockwise, completing one revolution in about 6 days.

19 The Jovian planets are significantly flattened, or oblate. The effect is most pronounced for Jupiter and Saturn, which have relatively smaller cores e.g. for Jupiter, polar diameter = km (6.5% less that equatorial diameter)

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