SUMMARY: The jovian planets are essentially massive balls of gas, each surrounded by many moons and also rings.

You are watching: Why do jovian planets bulge around the equator, that is, have a "squashed" appearance?

Sections:CompositionRotationMoons and RingsWhy so different?AtmospheresInteriorsRelated linksRelated Lessons:Jupiter"s Relative SizeThe Great Red Spot PinwheelCan Photosynthesis Occur at Saturn?Patterns and FingerprintsUsing Spectral File To Explore Sarevolve and Titan

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune collectively consist of the team known as the jovian planets. The general structures of the jovian planets are opposite those of the terrestrial planets. Rather than having actually thin atmospheres roughly fairly large rocky bodies, the jovian planets have actually relatively tiny, thick cores surrounded by substantial layers of gas. Made almost completely of hydrogen and also helium, these planets do not have actually solid surdeals with.

The Jovian Planets(click to enlarge)
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How Rotation Affects Planet Shapes(click to enlarge)

Unprefer the spherical shapes of terrestrial planets, the jovian planets are all slightly oblengthy. The jovian planets rotate much much faster than any kind of of the terrestrial civilizations. Gravity by itself would certainly make a planet spherical, however their fast rotation flat10s out their spherical shapes by flinging material close to the equator exterior.

Observations of clouds at various latitudes imply that the jovian planets revolve at various speeds close to their equators than close to their poles.JOVIAN "DAYS"Jupiter : 10 hoursSarevolve : 10 hoursUranus : 16-17 hoursNeptune : 16-17 hours

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After dimension, perhaps the many noticeable distinction between the jovian and terrestrial planets involves moons and rings. The terrestrial planets are nearly isolated worlds, via only Earth (1 moon) and also Mars (2 moons) orbited by any type of moons at all. In comparison, many type of moons and also rings orbit each of the jovian planets.

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All four jovian planets have actually rings, although only Saturn"s rings are conveniently visible from Planet. Rings are created of plenty of tiny pieces of rock and also ice, each orbiting its world choose a tiny moon. The rings look level bereason the pwrite-ups all orbit in essentially the very same aircraft. The rings are located closer to the planets than any type of of their moderately sized or big moons, yet the inner edge of the rings is still well above the planet"s cloud tops.


Jupiter through its moons Europa (closest in) and also Callisto aligned through the planet"s center.(click to enlarge)