Gas Giants Facts

Gas Giants Facts
Gas giants are giant planets that contain more than 10 times the mass of Earth, also known as Outer or Jovian Planets. They are composed mostly of gases, such as helium and hydrogen, and small amounts of rocky material that mostly make up their cores. The four gas giants of our Solar System are Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. These four planets reside in the outer part of the Solar System past the asteroid belt and the orbit of Mars. Saturn and Jupiter are substantially larger than Neptune and Uranus, revealing that the pairs of planets have a somewhat different composition. Outside of our Solar System, astronomers have discovered thousands of large planets like these four, found using NASA's Kepler space telescope and are referred to as exoplanets.
Interesting Gas Giants Facts:
Astronomers sometimes categorize Neptune and Uranus as "ice giants" because they are composed of heavier unstable substances. Saturn and Jupiter mostly consist of hydrogen and helium.
Gas giants are not all gas. There are layers of molecular hydrogen and liquid metallic hydrogen lying beneath the heavy atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. The metallic hydrogen layers conduct electricity.
Each of these planets have very complex atmospheres and giant storms. For example, The Great Red Spot on Jupiter has been known for 400 years.
These planets take longer to orbit the Sun because of their great distance. The farther away they are from the Sun, the more time it takes to make just one trip around the Sun.
Gas giants have been found around more than a thousand stars by the Kepler mission and are often referred to by such names as Hot Jupiters, Super Jupiters and Giant Neptunes.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from our sun and the largest planet in the Solar System with its radius almost 11 times the size of Earth. It is so large that all the other planets in the Solar System could fit inside it and it is visible to the naked eye. According to NASA, it has 53 known moons and 14 more waiting to be confirmed. If Jupiter had been about 80 times more massive, it would have become a star rather than a planet.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest in the Solar System, following Jupiter. This gas giant has an average radius about nine times the Earth. It has a pale-yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. Saturn is known to have sixty-two moons with Titan being the largest.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, it has the third largest planetary radius and the fourth largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is unique because its axis of rotation is always tilted sideways, which means that its north and south poles are where other planets have their equators. Wind speeds can reach up to 560 miles per hour (900 kilometers per hour).
Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. In the Solar System, it is the fourth largest planet by diameter, the third most massive and the densest giant planet.


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