Comparative evolution of Jupiter and Saturn

William B. Hubbard, T. Guillot, M. S. Marley, A. Burrows, J. I. Lunine, D. S. Saumon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


We present evolutionary sequences for Jupiter and Saturn, based on new non-gray model atmospheres, which take into account the evolution of the solar luminosity and partitioning of dense components to deeper layers. The results are used to set limits on the extent to which possible interior phase separation of hydrogen and helium may have progressed in the two planets. When combined with static models constrained by the gravity field, our evolutionary calculations constrain the helium mass fraction in Jupiter to be between 0.20 and 0.27, relative to total hydrogen and helium. This is consistent with the Galileo determination. The helium mass fraction in Saturn's atmosphere lies between 0.11 and 0.21, higher than the Voyager determination. Based on the discrepancy between the Galileo and Voyager results for Jupiter, and our models, we predict that revised observational results for Saturn will yield a higher atmospheric helium mass fraction relative to the Voyager value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1182
Number of pages8
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Hubbard, W. B., Guillot, T., Marley, M. S., Burrows, A., Lunine, J. I., & Saumon, D. S. (1999). Comparative evolution of Jupiter and Saturn. Planetary and Space Science, 47(10-11), 1175-1182.