Latest gas giants Stories
Gas giants surviving their death spiral formation has had scientists puzzled for many moons, but new research suggests it's heat that aids their survival.
The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Hot Jupiters, despite their close-in orbits, are not regularly consumed by their stars, as a new study conducted with data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope reveals.
According to the most popular theory of planet formation, planets are akin to redwood trees, growing in size very gradually. Rocky planets like Earth develop over millions of years, followed by gas giants like Jupiter, which build upon rocky cores. But new evidence suggests that some gas giants may sprout in less than one million years, more like planetary wildflowers than trees.
Last August, two groups of scientists announced the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planets found to date. But just what are these Neptune-size worlds? Are they gas giants, ice giants, or oversized Earths? Astronomer Alan Boss examines the possibilities.
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...
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