Comparison of Rocky & Gas Planets

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The rocky planets in the galaxy are known as the terrestrial planets. Get a comparison of rocky and gas planets with help from an astrophysics professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Moons & Planets
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist and this is a "comparison of rocky and gas planets." So, to be clear, the rocky planets are the terrestrial, the first terrestrial planets, and is Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. And, the gas giants are the last four, and is Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. So, let's make a versus table, just so you get an idea of the main qualities between the two. So, here, is going to the list for rocky, and here is going to be the gas giants. So, as we said, the location, compared to the sun, the rocky one's are close to the sun, and I'll use the sun as a circle with a dot in the middle, and the gas giants are far. Now, let's talk about size. So, when we look at, when we compare any of the gas giants to rocky, the gas giants are about a hundred times bigger than almost any rocky planets. So, in, in terms of mass, rocky planets are small, and the gas giants are very massive. And, then, let's talk about density. So, when we look at a rocky planet, we can find iron, heavy, all these heavy elements, and when we look at the gas giants, they're made, mostly out of hydrogen and helium, which is a light elements. So, the density of the gas giants is actually, they're less dense, and the rocky are fairly heavy density. Now, let's look at the structure. So, the rocky planets have a solid core and a solid surface. So, solid cores with a surface. And, then, the gas giants are mainly, they're mostly gas, and some of them will have, have been proven to have a rocky core, but the size and the actual specifics about the rocky core are not really understood, yet. So, maybe a solid core with a gas envelope. Alright, now, let's talk about the atmosphere. The atmosphere of the rocky planets are very thin because the gravity of the rocky planets is actually quite small compared to the gas giants. So, our atmosphere's for rocky planets are thin, and the gas giants have really thick atmospheres, since their ability to obtain gas is very large. And, then, let's talk about the moons. When we look at a rocky planet like Earth, we have one moon. When you look at something like Saturn, they have 65 moons, 70 moons. So, the rocky planets have few moons, and the gas giants have many. And, then, let's talk about rings. We don't have any rings in the rocky systems, so there's no rings. And, every outer planet has rings. The biggest ring system is found in Saturn. And, there's some of the differences between rocky planets and gas giants. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist and this is a comparison between rocky and gas giants.


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