The Ice Giant Systems of Uranus and Neptune
The current state of knowledge of the Ice Giants, Uranus and Neptune, is presented. The changing appearance of the atmosphere of Uranus is discussed, and its current cloud patterns and zonal winds are reviewed. Highlights of recent uranian ring and satellite observations are presented, along with a brief discussion of the ionosphere as deduced from ground-based observations. For the Neptune system, the rapidly evolving atmosphere is assessed, with a discussion of the longterm record to put recent observations into context. Also discussed are advances in characterizing the clumpy ring system of Neptune. Remarkable changes in the atmosphere of Neptune’s moon Triton are described, and the ever-growing number of smaller satellites is reported. Concluding remarks include a synopsis of future exploration of these dynamic planetary systems.
KeywordsZonal Wind Giant Planet Hubble Space Telescope Uranian System Voyager Spacecraft
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