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What are the Jovian and terrestrial planets?

Discover what the Jovian and terrestrial planets are.

Atmospheric make up determines if a planet is Jovian or terrestrial. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Atmospheric make up determines if a planet is Jovian or terrestrial.

Jovian and terrestrial planets each have atmospheric qualities similar to the group they are in. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are Jovian planets and Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are terrestrial planets.

Jovial (the adjectival from for the word Jupiter) planets are Jupiter-like planets that are giant planets composed primarily of light elements such as hydrogen and helium.

Terrestrial (derived from terra the Latin word for Earth) are Earth-like planets that are small in size, have solid surfaces and are composed of rocks and iron.

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