Latest Gas giant Stories

2008-11-24 14:55:00

NASA is officially moving forward on a mission to conduct an unprecedented, in-depth study of Jupiter. Called Juno, the mission will be the first in which a spacecraft is placed in a highly elliptical polar orbit around the giant planet to understand its formation, evolution and structure. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our early solar system. "Jupiter is the archetype of giant planets in our solar system...

2008-08-08 08:32:34

Our solar system emerged in surprisingly good order from the violence of planetary creation, according to a new simulation. Researchers found that planetary formation in the first few million years often resembles a violent wrestling match among hungry siblings, with planets fighting to feed on gas and dust while pulling at each other with gravitational arms. "There's massive bodies competing with each other and flinging each other around," said Edward Thommes, a physicist at...

2008-08-09 09:00:00

New computer simulations put solar system in universal perspective Prevailing theoretical models attempting to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. Now a new study by Northwestern University astronomers, using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars, turns that view on its head. The solar system, it turns out, is pretty special indeed. The study illustrates that if early conditions had been just slightly different,...

2008-08-07 10:20:00

A strange, metal brew lies buried deep within Jupiter and Saturn, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and in London. The study, published in this week's online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that metallic helium is less rare than was previously thought and is produced under the kinds of conditions present at the centers of giant, gaseous planets, mixing with metal hydrogen and forming a liquid...

2008-05-09 09:20:00

By shooting the high-energy Omega laser onto precompressed samples of planetary fluids, scientists are gaining a better understanding of the evolution and internal structure of Jupiter, Saturn and extrasolar giant planets.The properties of dense helium (He) "” which happens to be a principal constituent of giant gas planets like Jupiter "” at thermodynamic conditions between those of condensed matter and high-temperature plasmas are theoretically challenging and unexplored...

2008-05-09 08:15:00

You know the planets of our solar system, each a unique world with its own distinctive appearance, size, and chemistry. Mars, with its bitter-cold, rusty red sands; Venus, a fiery world shrouded in thick clouds of sulfuric acid; sideways Uranus and its strange vertical rings. The variety is breathtaking. Now imagine the variety that must exist in hundreds of solar systems. There may be worlds out there that make Venus seem hospitable and Uranus positively upright. Only 20 years ago,...

2008-04-10 16:22:37

Brown dwarfs are the oddballs of the cosmos, more massive than planets but not heavy enough to generate the thermonuclear fusion that powers real stars. Now astronomers have found the coldest brown dwarf to date. The failed star might represent a new class of objects that are a missing link between planets and stars. The cold brown dwarf floats freely in space, not bound to a star. Its mass is somewhere between 15 and 30 times that of Jupiter. And it is about 660 degrees...

2007-09-24 12:50:57

In the Star Wars movies, fictional planets are covered with forests, oceans, deserts, and volcanoes. But new models from a team of MIT, NASA, and Carnegie scientists begin to describe an even wider range of Earth-size planets that astronomers might actually be able to find in the near future. Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; Marc Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Catherine Hier-Majumder, Carnegie Institution of Washington,...

2007-09-18 10:30:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- An international team of astronomers has discovered that Neptune's south pole is much hotter than the rest of the planet. They have published the first temperature maps of the lowest portion of Neptune's atmosphere, which show that this warm south pole is providing an avenue for methane to escape out of the deep atmosphere. "The temperatures are so high that methane gas, which should be frozen out in the upper part of Neptune's atmosphere, the stratosphere, can leak out...

2007-07-11 12:10:00

Astronomers who used powerful telescopes in Arizona and Chile in a survey for planets around nearby stars have discovered that extrasolar planets more massive than Jupiter are extremely rare in other outer solar systems. University of Arizona astronomers and their collaborators from the European Southern Observatory, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy at Heidelberg, Italy's Arcetri Observatory, the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics just concluded a...

Latest Gas giant Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

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,...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

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
2004-10-19 04:45:41

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...

Solar System
2012-10-22 06:09:41

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

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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Word of the Day
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).