Latest Gas giant Stories
An international team of astronomers has caught a star in the act of devouring one of its planets.
New, exquisitely detailed, high-resolution images of Uranus show off its complex weather patterns and new features of the planet that scientists can't explain yet.
According to NASA-funded astronomers, planets can indeed form in dense stellar environments. This evidence comes from the recent discovery of planets that were observed orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars.
NASA’s Jupiter orbiter Juno successfully fired its engine Thursday as it prepares to make a crucial fly-by around Earth to give it the momentum it needs to shoot off toward the solar system’s largest planet.
Scientists collaborated recently to produce simulations of Earth-like planets being vaporized in order to help astronomers have a better grasp of what to look for in the atmosphere of candidate super-Earths.
Titan appears to be strung like a bead on Saturn’s rings, which cast shadows onto the southern hemisphere of the gas giant in this beautiful image from Cassini.
New observations show that small planets may be more widespread in our galaxy than previously thought.
Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe.
Solar systems that have “hot Jupiter-type” planets closely orbiting host stars likely do not have Earth-like planets neighboring them.
The idea of compressing water is foreign to our daily experience. Nevertheless, an accurate estimate of water’s shrinking volume under the huge gravitational pressures of large planets is essential to astrophysicists trying to model the evolution of the universe.
Terrestrial Planet -- A terrestrial planet is a planet that is mostly composed of silicate rocks and may or may not have a relatively thin atmosphere. The term is derived from the Greek word for Earth, so an alternate definition would be those planets that are more Earth-like than not. Terrestrial planets are very different from gas giants, which may or may not have solid surfaces and are composed mostly of hydrogen and helium in various physical states. Only one terrestrial planet,...
Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...
Gas Giant -- A gas giant is a generic astronomical term invented by the science fiction writer James Blish to describe any large planet that is not composed mostly of rock or other solid matter. Gas giants may still have a solid core - in fact, it is expected that such a core is probably required for a gas giant to form - but the majority of its mass is in the form of gas (or gas compressed into a liquid state). Unlike rocky planets, gas giants do not have a well-defined surface. There...
The Solar System refers to the area in space that is dominated by our own Sun. It is comprised of the Sun and its associated astronomical objects that are held in its gravitational orbit. The Solar System was formed as a result of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The mass of this system is located almost entirely in the Sun. Apart from the Sun, a high percentage of the remainder of the system’s mass is located in the eight solitary planets that...
Planet Neptune -- Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It is a gas giant. Orbiting so far from the sun, Neptune receives very little heat. Its 'surface' temperature is -218 degrees Celsius (below zero). However, the planet seems to have an internal source of heat. It is thought that this may be leftover heat generated by infalling matter during the planet's birth, now slowly radiating away into space. Neptune's atmosphere has the highest wind speeds in the solar system, up to...
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