Interior structure of Neptune: Comparison with Uranus

W. B. Hubbard, W. J. Nellis, A. C. Mitchell, N. C. Holmes, S. S. Limaye, P. C. McCandless

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Abstract

Measurements of rotation rates and gravitational harmonics of Neptune made with the Voyager 2 spacecraft allow tighter constraints on models ofthe planet's interior. Shock measurements of material that may match the composition of Neptune, the so-called planetary "ice," have been carried out to pressures exceeding 200 gigapascals (2 megabars). Comparison of shock data with inferred pressure-density profiles for both Uranus and Neptune shows substantial similarity through most of the mass of both planets. Analysis of the effect of Neptune's strong differential rotation on its gravitational harmonics indicates that differential rotation involves only the outermost few percent of Neptune's mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-651
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume253
Issue number5020
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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    Hubbard, W. B., Nellis, W. J., Mitchell, A. C., Holmes, N. C., Limaye, S. S., & McCandless, P. C. (1991). Interior structure of Neptune: Comparison with Uranus. Science, 253(5020), 648-651. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.253.5020.648