Giant planets

Definition

Giant planets are large planets, typically 10 or more times the mass of Earth, made predominantly of liquid or gas, notably hydrogen and helium. There are four giants in the solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    The process that generates Earth’s most intense aurora is found to occur at Jupiter, but is of only secondary importance in generating Jupiter’s much more powerful aurora.

    • B. H. Mauk
    • , D. K. Haggerty
    • , C. Paranicas
    • , G. Clark
    • , P. Kollmann
    • , A. M. Rymer
    • , S. J. Bolton
    • , S. M. Levin
    • , A. Adriani
    • , F. Allegrini
    • , F. Bagenal
    • , B. Bonfond
    • , J. E. P. Connerney
    • , G. R. Gladstone
    • , W. S. Kurth
    • , D. J. McComas
    •  & P. Valek
    Nature 549, 66–69
  • Research |

    Diamonds precipitate from methane under the intense pressures of the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus. Here, a laser shock experiment on a hydrocarbon sample shows that diamonds may require ten times as much pressure to precipitate as was previously thought.

    • D. Kraus
    • , J. Vorberger
    • , A. Pak
    • , N. J. Hartley
    • , L. B. Fletcher
    • , S. Frydrych
    • , E. Galtier
    • , E. J. Gamboa
    • , D. O. Gericke
    • , S. H. Glenzer
    • , E. Granados
    • , M. J. MacDonald
    • , A. J. MacKinnon
    • , E. E. McBride
    • , I. Nam
    • , P. Neumayer
    • , M. Roth
    • , A. M. Saunders
    • , A. K. Schuster
    • , P. Sun
    • , T. van Driel
    • , T. Döppner
    •  & R. W. Falcone
    Nature Astronomy 1, 606–611
  • Research |

    Observations of the gas-giant exoplanet WASP-121b reveal near-infrared emission lines of water, suggesting that the planet has a stratosphere—a layer in the upper atmosphere where temperature increases with altitude.

    • Thomas M. Evans
    • , David K. Sing
    • , Tiffany Kataria
    • , Jayesh Goyal
    • , Nikolay Nikolov
    • , Hannah R. Wakeford
    • , Drake Deming
    • , Mark S. Marley
    • , David S. Amundsen
    • , Gilda E. Ballester
    • , Joanna K. Barstow
    • , Lotfi Ben-Jaffel
    • , Vincent Bourrier
    • , Lars A. Buchhave
    • , Ofer Cohen
    • , David Ehrenreich
    • , Antonio García Muñoz
    • , Gregory W. Henry
    • , Heather Knutson
    • , Panayotis Lavvas
    • , Alain Lecavelier des Etangs
    • , Nikole K. Lewis
    • , Mercedes López-Morales
    • , Avi M. Mandell
    • , Jorge Sanz-Forcada
    • , Pascal Tremblin
    •  & Roxana Lupu
    Nature 548, 58–61
  • Research |

    Global-scale Rossby waves develop in planets’ atmospheres and influence their weather. Now, similar waves, driven by magnetism, are unambiguously detected on the Sun. They can possibly help the forecasting of solar activity and related space weather.

    • Scott W. McIntosh
    • , William J. Cramer
    • , Manuel Pichardo Marcano
    •  & Robert J. Leamon
  • Reviews |

    This Review gives an overview of some pivotal open questions on planetary formation and evolution, with water as the underlying common theme, and how the planetary and exoplanetary communities can help each other in addressing them.

    • Andrew P. Ingersoll

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