Theory of giant planets

W. B. Hubbard, Adam S. Burrows, J. I. Lunine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

Giant planet research has moved from the study of a handful of solar system objects to that of a class of bodies with dozens of known members. Since the original 1995 discovery of the first extrasolar giant planets (EGPs), the total number of known examples has increased to ∼80 (circa November 2001). Current theoretical studies of giant planets emphasize predicted observable properties, such as luminosity, effective temperature, radius, external gravity field, atmospheric composition, and emergent spectra as a function of mass and age. This review focuses on the general theory of hydrogen-rich giant planets; smaller giant planets with the mass and composition of Uranus and Neptune are not covered. We discuss the status of the theory of the nonideal thermodynamics of hydrogen and hydrogen-helium mixtures under the conditions found in giant-planet interiors, and the experimental constraints on it. We provide an overview of observations of extrasolar giant planets and our own giant planets by which the theory can be validated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-136
Number of pages34
JournalAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 19 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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