SUMMARY: The cores of all 4 jovian planets are made of some combicountry of rock, steel and also hydrogen compounds. The difference in between the jovian interiors continues to be in the layers that surround the core.

You are watching: Why do the jovian planet interiors differ?

Sections:Planetary Size and DensityInterior StructureInternal HeatRelated linksRelated Lessons:Looking Inside Planets

Have you ever wondered why Jupiter and also Sarevolve are incredibly close in dimension, however Jupiter"s average density is almost twice Saturn"s? The answer lies in exactly how you build a earth out of hydrogen and also helium. The process is comparable to stacking pillows one on top of another. As more pillows are stacked on optimal, the pillows on the bottom become more and even more compressed. The bottom pillows proceed to compush until a point once including pillows doesn"t boost the height of the stack.

Planet Radius vs. Mass(click to enlarge)

This helps describe why the radii of Jupiter and also Sarotate are exceptionally close, but Jupiter is more than 3 times as massive. Jupiter ongoing to collect hydrogen and helium in its atmosphere, increasing its mass and also compushing its inner until its average thickness was twice Saturn"s.

Median Density (from greatest to lowest)Neptune 1,638 kg/m3Jupiter 1,326 kg/m3Uranus 1,270 kg/m3Saturn 687 kg/m3

Notice that also though Neptune and also Uranus are smaller in size, their densities are a lot larger than Saturn"s. This leads us to believe that Uranus and Neptune must have actually considerably various compositions than that of Sarevolve, with a a lot bigger fraction of higher-density material such as hydrogen compounds and rock.

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All 4 jovian planet cores are equivalent in complace. Each is composed of a mixture of rock, metal and also hydrogen compounds. Their distinctions stem from having actually captured various quantities of extra hydrogen and also helium gas from the solar nebula. Jupiter recorded so much that it ended up with 300 times Earth"s mass.

Jovial Planet Interiors(click to enlarge)
A Pie Slice of Jupiter"s Density
LAYERS SURROUNDING JOVIAN CORES (FROM CORE OUTWARD):Jupiter and also SaturnMetallic hydrogenLiquid hydrogenGaseous hydrogenVisible cloudsUranus and also NeptuneGaseous hydrogenVisible cloudsDensity, temperature and push increase through distance from the cloud tops.

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The jovian planets acquire their warmth from the Sun and from their interiors. Jupiter creates a lot of interior warm and releases this heat by emitting thermal radiation. In fact, Jupiter creates so a lot interior warmth that it emits almost twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun. The only reasonable explacountry is that Jupiter is still gradually contracting, practically as though it has not fairly finimelted developing.

Sarotate and Neptune likewise show up to be emitting even more energy than they receive from the Sun. While we are particular Saturn is not still contracting, it seems clear that Neptune is still contracting. Uranus is the only jovian planet not emitting excess inner energy.