The gas giant or gaseous planet as it is also known is a large planet that is composed mainly of gases, such as hydrogen and helium , with a relatively small rocky core . The gas giants in our solar system are Jupiter , Saturn , Uranus, and Neptune . These four giant planets, also called Jovian planets after Jupiter, reside on the outside of our solar system beyond the orbits of Mars and the belt of asteroids. Jupiter and Saturn are substantially larger than Uranus and Neptune, and each pair of planets has a somewhat different composition.
They are the planets that are located in the outer part of the solar system and that are formed mainly by hydrogen and helium , which is a reflection of the composition of the original solar nebula.
What are the gas planets?
The gaseous planets that exist in our solar system are the following:
- Jupiter : the largest in our solar system and that is why it is called the giant planet. Composed mainly of hydrogen and helium that surrounds a dense core of rocks and ice . It has a huge magnetic field and is visible to the naked eye. Its atmosphere consists mainly of hydrogen , helium, ammonia, and methane . One of its main characteristics is the red stain that it has due to the great pressures of the atmosphere and high clouds.
- Saturn : characterized by large rings . It has 53 known moons and is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium that surround a dense core , its atmosphere is similar to that of Jupiter.
- Uranus :is the only planet tilted sideways, and turns to back for each planet. The atmosphere is composed of hydrogen, helium and methane , and was discovered by William Herschel in 1781. It completes its orbit in 84 Earth years, and has five main satellites.
- Neptune : its atmosphere is composed of hydrogen, helium and methane . It has 13 confirmed moons and was discovered by several people in 1846. It manages to complete its orbit, which is almost circular in 164 Earth years and its rotation periodis around 18 hours. They have a structure very similar to that of Uranus.
It is also important to mention that due to the difference that all these planets have in their structure and composition , the four gas giants generally differ by name, Jupiter and Saturn are classified as ” gas giants “, while Uranus and Neptune are known by the name of ” ice giants .”
The main characteristics of the gaseous planets are the following:
- They do not have a well defined surface .
- They are formed of an immense gaseous mass where hydrogen and helium are mainly abundant .
- To refer to their diameters , surfaces , volumes or densities it is done with respect to the outer layer seen from the outside.
- Their atmospheres are very dense.
- They have a large number of satellites and ring systems .
- They are known by the name of Jovian planets , due to their appearance with Jupiter in size and characteristics.
- They have a low density and their core is very rocky.
- They receive very little light so they have a fairly low temperature .
- They rotate quickly, with an average rotation of 10h.
- It has a powerful magnetic and gravitational field that allows them to retain the masses of gas they possess.
- The atmospheres and weather patterns of the four giants are quite similar.
Why are they called gaseous planets?
The gaseous planets are called this way because they are planets in which their composition is dominated by gases , mainly hydrogen and helium . Most of the exoplanets or extrasolar planets that have been discovered so far are gaseous also because they are planets of greater size and mass . They are also called giant planets because their size is much larger than the terrestrial planets of the solar system and because of this, they are easier for scientists to discover than other planets.
How they differ from rocky planets?
One of the main differences that we can notice between the gaseous planets and the rocky planets is that the former are composed mainly of hydrogen and methane , in other words, they are composed of gases ; In contrast, rocky planets are mostly made up of a solid surface and rock.
Others of their differences is that planets gaseous not have an area that has a good definition , while the planets rocky themselves have it . The rocky planets have secondary atmospheres that have arisen from the internal geological processes of the earth, whereas the gas giant planets have primary atmospheres that have been captured directly from the original solar nebula .
Examples of gaseous planets
The gaseous planets are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune , in addition to some that are in the outer part of the solar system.