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This is an image of Jupiter showing places which are hot.
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NASA

Heat from Inside Saturn

Have you ever thought that a planet could make energy within itself? If you think about it, the ground is not very cold at all (except in the winter). This means that the Earth makes enough energy for the ground to be sort of warm most of the time.

The energy that Jupiter and Saturn have is very strong, meaning that Jupiter and Saturn are very warm from within themselves.

There are several ways for a heavenly object to make energy from inside. The first is by fusion, the way the sun makes energy. Another way is with radioactive material deep within the ground, the way a planet makes energy.

For the giant planets, the way that works is the mere fact that energy is made when a planet is in the process of shrinking together.

The fact that Saturn is still shrinking together shows that the process of forming is still going on.


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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