Radius-mass relations

Radius-mass relations

. A liquid body of solar composition describes a radius-mass relation (top) that approximates the mass and radius of Jupiter and Saturn. They consist mainly of the lightest element hydrogen, denoted by H, and next lightest abundant element helium, abbreviated He. Uranus and Neptune contain little hydrogen or helium, for their radii are much too small to be consistent with solar composition. Instead, they lie only slightly above the mass-radius relation for liquid water, so they probably contain large quantities of water. For comparison purposes, the bottom curve describes a giant planet composed of pure rock, as the Earth is but with a much smaller size.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University