How do "hot Jupiters" hold onto their atmospheres?

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Renee Roberts

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Renee Roberts asked the Naked Scientists:

Hello, Naked Scientists!

How do the so-called "hot Jupiter" planets keep their gaseous layers when they orbit so close to their suns? Why doesn't the solar wind disperse the gas and leave just the rocky core behind?

Thanks for a great podcast! Naked Science rocks! ;-)

What do you think?



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How do
« Reply #1 on: 24/09/2008 19:03:33 »
I guess that, to be where they are and still have an atmosphere, they must be massive enough for their gravitational field to retain it.
All that is needed is for the KE of the gas molecules to be low enough relative to the gravitational potential.