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What Are the Main Constituents of the Jovian Planets?

[Summary]What are the Jovian Planets? Beyond our Solar System's "Frost Line" – the region where volatiles like water, ammonia and methane begin to freeze – four massive planets reside. Though these planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – vary in

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What are the Jovian Planets?

Beyond our Solar System’s “Frost Line” – the region where volatiles like water, ammonia and methane begin to freeze – four massive planets reside. Though these planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – vary in terms of size, mass, and composition, they all share certain characteristics that cause them to differ greatly from the terrestrial planets located in the inner Solar System.

Giant planet

The Solar System's four giant planets against the Sun, to scale

Relative masses of the giant planets of the Solar System

A giant planet is any massive planet. They are usually primarily composed of low-boiling-point materials (gases or ices), rather than rock or other solid matter, but massive solid planets can also exist. There are four known giant planets in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Many extrasolar giant planets have been identified orbiting other stars.

NOVA | Teachers | Origins: Where are the Aliens? | Research Reading: Terrestrial and Jovian Planets | PBS

Origins: Where Are the Aliens?

Research Reading

Terrestrial and Jovian Planets

What Are the Main Constituents of the Jovian Planets?
With the exception of Pluto, planets in our solar system are classified as either terrestrial (Earth-like) or Jovian (Jupiter-like) planets. Terrestrial planets include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. These planets are relatively small in size and in mass. A terrestrial planet has a solid rocky surface, with metals deep in its interior. In the solar system, these planets are closer to the sun and are therefore warmer than the planets located farther out in the solar system. Future space missions are being designed to search remotely for terrestrial planets around other stars.

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