Comparative Study of the Dynamics of the Outer Planets
- Cite this article as:
- Beebe, R.F. Space Sci Rev (2005) 116: 137. doi:10.1007/s11214-005-1952-4
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The two classes of outer planets, Gas Giants and Ice Giants, have distinctly different global circulation patterns and internal structure. Ongoing ground-based observations of the Ice Giants provide clues to better understanding and Galileo and Cassini data will generate constraints for Gas Giant modeling. The composition below the cloud levels, the depths to which the winds penetrate and the processes that sustain the zonal winds and weather systems are not understood. Basic questions concerning the structure, composition and atmospheric dynamics that are sustained on the four giants could be answered by a combination of orbiters and probes. Future missions that could answer these questions are not currently under development.