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This is a drawing depicting the motions in earth's atmosphere.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Random House Atlas

Motions in Neptune's Interior

Motions in the interior of a planet helps to carry heat from the core to the planet's surface.

The drawing to the left illustrates a kind of global motion that is typical of motions in the atmosphere as well as the interior of a planet. Material rises from where it is warmest, and moves in a roiling motion like the boiling of a pot. The material eventually cools enough to sink again. In the drawing, there are three different cells of activity in the atmosphere where the air turns over (depicted by red sheets).

In the interior of Neptune, the ice layers are warm enough to move in this fashion. Some scientists think, however, that the interior of Neptune may have a different sort of motion.

The magnetosphere of Neptune seems to be produced by motions in the icy layers inside Neptune. More study is needed in order to decide exactly what kind of motion Neptune has.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA