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What is the Difference of or the Structure of a GAS PLANET AND AN ICE GIANT Why they called ICE GIANTS like Neptune and Uranus. Do they have a similarity ?

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Gas Giants consist primarily of the gases hydrogen and helium, with a rocky/iron core.

The interiors of Ice Giants consist primarily of what astronomers call 'Ices'. These are compounds like water, methane and ammonia, and are so-named presumably because they are solid at cold (-200 C) temperatures, unlike hydrogen and helium, which remain gaseous up until very close to Absolute Zero.

Hydrogen and helium are very light, and it only takes a small amount of heat energy to make them fast enough to escape the gravitational field of most planets. Jupiter and Saturn are the only planets heavy enough to retain a significant fraction of hydrogen and helium (though the atmospheres of ice giants Uranus and Neptune consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, it's mainly ices further down).

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  • $\begingroup$ Still, ice giant is just a subclass of gas giants, isn't it? Shouldn't Jupiter and Saturn then get an own subclass name? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ The concept that the gas giants have a rocky/iron core is suspect. The Juno spacecraft has shown that Jupiter does not have a differentiated rocky/iron core; it looks more like a diffuse core with lots of hydrogen and helium mixed with heavier elements. A recent study suggests the same is true for Saturn. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 18:10

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