Giant planets

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 |

    An energetic head-on collision between a large impactor and the proto-Jupiter with a primordial compact core could have mixed the heavy elements within the deep interior, leading to a ‘diluted’ core for Jupiter.

    • Shang-Fei Liu
    • , Yasunori Hori
    • , Simon Müller
    • , Xiaochen Zheng
    • , Ravit Helled
    • , Doug Lin
    •  & Andrea Isella
    Nature 572, 355-357
  • Research |

    The Juno spacecraft’s observations of magnetic field perturbations in Jupiter’s polar regions show Birkeland currents associated with aurorae that are weaker than anticipated and filamentary in nature. An asymmetry is observed between the northern and southern auroras.

    • Stavros Kotsiaros
    • , John E. P. Connerney
    • , George Clark
    • , Frederic Allegrini
    • , G. Randall Gladstone
    • , William S. Kurth
    • , Barry H. Mauk
    • , Joachim Saur
    • , Emma J. Bunce
    • , Daniel J. Gershman
    • , Yasmina M. Martos
    • , Thomas K. Greathouse
    • , Scott J. Bolton
    •  & Steven M. Levin
  • Research |

    A systematic change in Jupiter’s magnetic field can be detected by collating all data obtained in the last 45 years by multiple spacecraft, from Pioneer 10 to Juno. Such variation can be attributed to the zonal winds, which advect the magnetic field from the deep atmospheric layers.

    • K. M. Moore
    • , H. Cao
    • , J. Bloxham
    • , D. J. Stevenson
    • , J. E. P. Connerney
    •  & S. J. Bolton
    Nature Astronomy 3, 730-735
  • Research |

    The atomic structure of H2O is documented at several million atmospheres of pressure and temperatures of several thousand degrees, revealing shockwave-induced ultrafast crystallization and a novel water ice phase, ice XVIII, with exotic superionic properties.

    • Marius Millot
    • , Federica Coppari
    • , J. Ryan Rygg
    • , Antonio Correa Barrios
    • , Sebastien Hamel
    • , Damian C. Swift
    •  & Jon H. Eggert
    Nature 569, 251-255
  • Research |

    PlanetNet, a new deep learning algorithm, can quickly and accurately map spatial and spectral features across large, heterogeneous areas of a planet. The major components of the 2008 storm on Saturn are delineated, indicating regions to be probed more deeply with radiative transfer models.

    • I. P. Waldmann
    •  & C. A. Griffith
    Nature Astronomy 3, 620-625

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