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Does Saturn contain a layer of metallic hydrogen?

Question #10408. Asked by Lyn.
Last updated Aug 21 2016.

Moleman
Answer has 3 votes
Currently Best Answer
Moleman
17 year member
317 replies

Answer has 3 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Saturn's interior is similar to Jupiter's consisting of a rocky core, a liquid metallic hydrogen layer and a molecular hydrogen layer. Traces of various ices are also present.

link http://nineplanets.org/saturn.html

[Link updated on August 21, 2016 by shuehorn]

Response last updated by shuehorn on Aug 21 2016.
Feb 15 2001, 9:36 AM
sequoianoir
Answer has 2 votes
sequoianoir
19 year member
2091 replies

Answer has 2 votes.
Jupiter probably has a core of rocky material amounting to something like 10 to 15 Earth-masses.

Above the core lies the main bulk of the planet in the form of liquid metallic hydrogen. This exotic form of the most common of elements is possible only at pressures exceeding 4 million bars, as is the case in the interior of Jupiter (and Saturn). Liquid metallic hydrogen consists of ionized protons and electrons (like the interior of the Sun but at a far lower temperature). At the temperature and pressure of Jupiter's interior hydrogen is a liquid, not a gas. It is an electrical conductor and the source of Jupiter's magnetic field. This layer probably also contains some helium and traces of various "ices".

The outermost layer is composed primarily of ordinary molecular hydrogen and helium which is liquid in the interior and gaseous further out. The atmosphere we see is just the very top of this deep layer. Water, carbon dioxide, methane and other simple molecules are also present in tiny amounts.

Sep 28 2003, 5:37 AM
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