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Seeing the Unseen
View "Portraits of the Giants"

And Explore Moons, Rings, Weather, and More

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are mini solar systems with many moons orbiting them. Each also has a ring system. And each is surrounded by an enormous magnetic field that is invisible except near their polar regions where magnetized particles show up as spectacular aurora. All four giant worlds have weather and strange forms of matter below their atmosphere.

An inside look at the giant planets. These are strange atmospheres indeed.

Compared to the rocky worlds of the inner Solar System, the giant worlds are enormous. The largest of them, Jupiter, is so big that more than 10 Earths could line up across its diameter; more than 1,000 Earths could fit inside; and all the other planets in the Solar System put together are less than half its tremendous mass. The other giant worlds are not as big as Jupiter, but they still dwarf rocky planets like Earth.

  • Jupiter – One of Jupiter’s storms, the Great Red Spot, is so big it could easily swallow Earth.
  • Saturn – Saturn’s diameter is more than 9 times that of Earth, and yet its ring system is only about 50 meters thick. If Saturn were the height of a 60-story building, the rings would be as thin as a sheet of paper (use our cartoon image?).
  • Uranus – 63 Earths could fit inside Uranus, and 4 Earths could line up across its diameter.
  • Neptune – Like Earth, Neptune is a blue planet – but it’s also a BIG planet, with a diameter nearly 4 times that of Earth and 17 times more mass.

All images/media copyright NASA, unless otherwise noted
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