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Title: WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT URANUS AND NEPTUNE?

Abstract

The internal structures and compositions of Uranus and Neptune are not well constrained due to the uncertainty in rotation period and flattening, as well as the relatively large error bars on the gravitational coefficients. While Uranus and Neptune are similar in mass and radius, they differ in other physical properties such as thermal emission, obliquity, and inferred atmospheric enrichment. In this Letter, we consider the uncertainty in the planetary rotation periods, show that rotation periods more consistent with the measured oblateness imply that Uranus and Neptune have different internal structures, and speculate on the source of that difference. We conclude that Uranus and Neptune might have very different structures and/or compositions despite their similar masses and radii. We point out that understanding these differences can have important implications for our view of the formation and evolution of Uranus and Neptune as well as intermediate-mass extrasolar planets in general.

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Geophysical, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv (Israel)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22078445
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 759; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8205
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; EMISSION; GRAVITATIONAL RADIATION; MASS; NEPTUNE PLANET; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; ROTATION; STAR EVOLUTION; URANUS PLANET

Citation Formats

Podolak, M., and Helled, R. WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT URANUS AND NEPTUNE?. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/2/L32.
Podolak, M., & Helled, R. WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT URANUS AND NEPTUNE?. United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/2/L32.
Podolak, M., and Helled, R. Sat . "WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT URANUS AND NEPTUNE?". United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/2/L32.
@article{osti_22078445,
title = {WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT URANUS AND NEPTUNE?},
author = {Podolak, M. and Helled, R.},
abstractNote = {The internal structures and compositions of Uranus and Neptune are not well constrained due to the uncertainty in rotation period and flattening, as well as the relatively large error bars on the gravitational coefficients. While Uranus and Neptune are similar in mass and radius, they differ in other physical properties such as thermal emission, obliquity, and inferred atmospheric enrichment. In this Letter, we consider the uncertainty in the planetary rotation periods, show that rotation periods more consistent with the measured oblateness imply that Uranus and Neptune have different internal structures, and speculate on the source of that difference. We conclude that Uranus and Neptune might have very different structures and/or compositions despite their similar masses and radii. We point out that understanding these differences can have important implications for our view of the formation and evolution of Uranus and Neptune as well as intermediate-mass extrasolar planets in general.},
doi = {10.1088/2041-8205/759/2/L32},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
issn = {2041-8205},
number = 2,
volume = 759,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}