© 2003

Giant Planets of Our Solar System

An Introduction


Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

About this book


This bookreviews the current state of knowledge of the atmospheres of the giant gaseous planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The current theories of their formation are reviewed and their recently observed temperature, composition and cloud structures are contrasted and compared with simple thermodynamic, radiative transfer and dynamical models. The instruments and techniques that have been used to remotely measure their atmospheric properties are also reviewed, and the likely development of outer planet observations over the next two decades is outlined.


giant planets planetary atmospheres solar system atmosphere Cloud development formation temperature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary PhysicsClarendon LaboratoryOxfordUK
  2. 2.St Anne’s CollegeOxfordUK

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

"Irwin […] has done an outstanding job of presenting material geared to upper-division undergraduates and beginning graduate students." (J.R. Kraus (University of Denver), Choice Feb. 2004)

"The intended readers are senior students in physics or astronomy or graduate students in space sciences. The author certainly meets the expectations of such a reader and those of a potential lecturer on planetary science. The book contains both enough introductory and advanced materials to satisfy both the reader and the lecturer. … The book contains many useful tables with numerous relative to the giant planets, many nice black and white figures and photographs, and six pages of very attractive color photographs." (Fernande Grandjean, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 29 (2), 2007)

"This book meets a long-standing need for a textbook of the atmospheric physics and chemistry of … giant planets. … a guide that makes the field more accessible is particularly welcome. … aimed at final-year undergraduates and graduate students, it assumes more physics and mathematics than most BAA members will have (to the level of vector calculus), but it is also a good reference work. … the point of a textbook is to give the basis for understanding new developments, and this one succeeds admirably." (John H. Rogers, Journal of British Astronomy Association, Vol. 116 (5), 2006)