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Formation of the giant planets

Stevenson, D. J. (1982) Formation of the giant planets. Planetary and Space Science, 30 (8). pp. 755-764. ISSN 0032-0633. doi:10.1016/0032-0633(82)90108-8.

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Observational constraints on interior models of the giant planets indicate that these planets were all much hotter when they formed and they all have rock and/or ice cores of ten to thirty earth masses. These cores are probably soluble in the envelopes above, especially in Jupiter and Saturn, and are therefore likely to be primordial. They persist despite the continual upward mixing by thermally driven convection throughout the age of the solar system, because of the inefficiency of double-diffusive convection. Thus, these planets most probably formed by the hydrodynamic collapse of a gaseous envelope onto a core rather than by direct instability of the gaseous solar nebula. Recent calculations by Mizuno (1980, Prog. Theor. Phys.64, 544) show that this formation mechanism may explain the similarity of giant planet core masses. Problems remain however, and no current model is entirely satisfactory in explaining the properties of the giant planets and simultaneously satisfying the terrestrial planet constraints. Satellite systematics and protoplanetary disk nebulae are also discussed and related to formation conditions.

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Stevenson, D. J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 1982 Pergamon Press Ltd. Received 23 September 1981. Presented at the IAMAP/ICPAE Symposium “Origin and Evolution of Planetary Atmospheres”, 17-18 August 1981, Hamburg, West Germany.
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences 3693
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131016-153634329
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Official Citation:D.J. Stevenson, Formation of the giant planets, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 30, Issue 8, August 1982, Pages 755-764, ISSN 0032-0633, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41958
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 21:12
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:36

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