Reports

Interior Structure of Neptune: Comparison with Uranus

Science  09 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5020, pp. 648-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5020.648

Abstract

Measurements of rotation rates and gravitational harmonics of Neptune made with the Voyager 2 spacecraft allow tighter constraints on models of the planet's interior. Shock measurements of material that may match the composition of Neptune, the so-calied planetary ``ice,'' have been carried out to pressures exceeding 200 gigapascals (2 megabars). Comparison of shock data with inferred pressure-density profiles for both Uranus and Neptune shows substantial similarity through most of the mass of both planets. Analysis of the effect of Neptune's strong differential rotation on its gravitational harmonics indicates that differential rotation involves only the outermost few percent of Neptune's mass.