This book is aimed at final-year physics/astronomy undergraduates and first-year postgraduate students of planetary physics. Knowledge of basic physics is assumed, but no previous atmospheric physics knowledge is needed. Formulas are derived where possible or referred if not.
In Chapter 2 we will look at theories of formation of the giant planets, which may be used to interpret their physical and compositional differences and in Chapter 3 we will review how the atmospheres of these planets may have evolved with time. In Chapter 4 we will review what is known about the vertical temperature, composition, and cloud structure of the planets and in Chapter 5 we will look in detail at the meteorology and dynamical processes taking place. Since the only giant planet where in situ measurements have been made is Jupiter, most of what we know about the giant planets comes from remote sensing via measurements of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and microwave spectra as we mentioned in the previous section. Hence, in Chapter 6 we will examine the observed spectra of the planets and review the physics of the observed spectral features and radiative transfer processes. In Chapter 7 we will review the sources of information that have been used to construct our current understanding of the atmospheres of these planets and outline how these remotely sensed spectra may be inverted via retrieval theory in order to estimate the physical conditions in these atmospheres. Finally, in Chapter 8 we will look to the future and describe further planned measurements of the giant planets and also missions to find extrasolar planets, including giant planets, about other stars.
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