Questions tagged [planetary-science]

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Why do the Sun and gas planets rotate faster at equator than at poles?

From this site, it states that: The Sun spins faster at its equator than at its poles. I have also read somewhere that the gas giants (gaseous planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) also ...
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6 votes
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How un-dense can a terrestrial planet get before it turns into a mini-Neptune?

EDIT: well, now I have more For reference: A terrestrial planet is a planet that is made out of silicates and metals. A Mini-Neptune is, as far as I know, the smallest type of giant planet (arguably,...
5 votes
0 answers
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How do the giant planets excite the orbits of asteroids?

The giant planets, particularly Jupiter, are notorious for bringing about changes in eccentricities and inclinations of smaller bodies(asteroids and KBOs). Jupiter, in fact, throws almost all the ...
4 votes
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Does polar motion cause the Earth ellipsoid to change?

The Earth is oblate because it spins and is not a rigid body. Since its spin axis changes relative to its crust, then the meridian of maximum diameter changes too, right? I understand that polar ...
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3 votes
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Gravity on Mercury's highest elevation?

This post answers what is Mars' gravity at its highest point (Olympus Mons) compared to the Earth's and Mars' standard, it's 0.3736 g (Mars standard is 0.3794 g). This also seems to be the lowest ...
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2 votes
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What is the maximum size for a solid celestial body such that it still can be tunneled down to the core?

Old science fiction had lots of stories that involved people exploring the center of Earth, like for example Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne. As Earth sciences advanced, this sort ...
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2 votes
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Up to what distance from the Moon does the Moon's gravity hold its exosphere before it is being cast away by solar wind?

Up to how far from the Moon is the Moon's exosphere gravitationally bound to it? For the Earth's exosphere it is 120,000 mi (190,000 km) or half the Moon's distance from the Earth, beyond that the ...
2 votes
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93 views

Predicting Temperature Variation on Planets with High Eccentricity or Long Diurnal Periods

Whew! That title was a mouth-full, but accurate I hope. What I'm trying to figure out is a model for calculating the approximate temperature variation for a generally earth-like planet (similar ...
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202 views

Why does the axial tilt & the rotation speed of Saturn & Jupiter vary so much?

I have seen Jupiter and its 4 largest moons in a telescope, several times. The moons are always aligned in a line. This is fine. Very interesting. But.. in case of Saturn, not only that we can see its ...
1 vote
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9 views

What are different forces acting on a planet which may be related to axial tilts?

In our solar system, we see that the axis of rotation of planets is tilted forex. The axial tilt of Venus is near 179 degrees. Venus, Uranus, and Pluto have large values of axial tilt(more than 90 ...
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1 vote
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List of J₂ values for solar system bodies beyond the planets; are there any prolates?

J₂ values for the planets can be found in several sources including each planet's planetary fact sheet. Without looking I'm going to assume they are all positive (oblate) because each planet rotates ...
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What discoveries were made thanks to Pioneer orbiter data?

Based on the Wikipedia page Pioneer Venus Orbiter (also known as Pioneer Venus 1, Pioneer 12, 1978-051A) there were quite a few scientific instruments on board. But what scientific results were ...
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1 vote
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Magneto tail effect on the other planet in a binary planet system

Let's say there are 2 earth sized planets orbiting each other around 750,000km apart and at a distance of roughly 1.2 AU from a sunlike star with a mass of 1.105 solar masses. Since they are binary, ...
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1 vote
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Binary planet orbital distance

From reading various sources online, I see that some people talk about binary planets in very tight orbits (around 1 or 2 planet radii). I am wondering if it is possible for a binary planet (Double ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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If 16 million kilometers were added to Earth's semi-major axis, what measurable effect would there be on Mars' orbit?

I have some education in astronomy, but nothing extensive in astrophysics. I can follow mathematical procedure with assistance. Procedural responses are most welcome!