PerspectivePlanetary Science

A New Look at the Jovian Planets

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Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 800-801
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.800

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The Infrared Space Observatory was launched by the European Space Agency in November 1995. For two and a half years, the craft gathered a wealth of data on the jovian planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In their Perspective, Bézard et al. discuss some of the important results, recently presented at workshops in Wisconsin and Paris. Among them were a new determination of the deuterium/hydrogen ratio in these bodies, which has implications for models of solar system formation; new findings on hydrocarbon photochemistry in the jovian planets; and the unexpected detection of water vapor in the stratospheres of the giant planets.