Shop Windows to the Universe

Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
This is an infrared image of Jupiter showing regions which are hot.
Click on image for full size
NASA

The Source of Heat from Within Neptune

The picture shows places on Jupiter which are hot. Jupiter is a very warm body in space, as shown in the picture, and this warmth is associated with the energy of Jupiter.

Neptune has also been found to be a warm body in space. The energy that Neptune makes has been found to be very high.

There are several ways in which astronomical objects make energy from inside. The first is by thermonuclear fusion, the way a star makes energy. Another method is by radioactive material within the ground, the way a planet makes energy.

For the giant planets, the method which seems to be at work is the mere fact that energy is given off from when a planet is in the process of shrinking together, or collapsing on itself.

The fact that Neptune is still collapsing together indicates that the process of planet formation is still going on. This process is providing the heat from within which causes the unusual motions in the atmosphere.


Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Radioactive

Some materials give off radiation. We call those materials "radioactive". Radioactive materials are often dangerous to people and other living things. There are many different kinds of radioactive materials....more

Motions in Neptune's Interior, part 2

Motions in the interior of a gas-giant planet such as Neptune may be very different from the motions within the Earth. A second idea for the motions in the interior of a gas-giant planet is shown in this...more

The Source of Heat from Within Neptune

The picture shows places on Jupiter which are hot. Jupiter is a very warm body in space, as shown in the picture, and this warmth is associated with the energy of Jupiter. Neptune has also been found to...more

Motions in Neptune's Interior

Motions in the interior of a planet help carry heat from the inside to the outside. The drawing to the left illustrates a kind of global motion that is typical of motions in the atmosphere as well as interior...more

Neptune's Present Great Dark Spot

This image shows the new Great Dark Spot of Neptune, which was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope. The image shown here, shows a "hole" in the clouds of Neptune in pink, in the northern hemisphere,...more

A Look at the History of Neptune's Atmosphere

The giant planets have definitely changed since their formation. But how much remains to be seen. Most of the original air of the giant planets remains in place. (The earth-like planets lost most of their...more

Neptune's Cirrus Clouds

This image shows some clouds known as "cirrus" clouds, extending for many kilometers across the face of Neptune. These clouds are very high up, for they can be seen to cast shadows on the lower clouds,...more

Neptune's Smog Hazes

This image of Neptune uses false colors to show where the smog is. The smog of Neptune can be seen in red along the edge of the image. These hazes of smog are found at very high altitudes, over the clouds...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF