Uranus and Neptune: Origin, Evolution and Internal Structure

Ravit Helled*, Nadine Nettelmann, Tristan Guillot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


There are still many open questions regarding the nature of Uranus and Neptune, the outermost planets in the Solar System. In this review we summarize the current-knowledge about Uranus and Neptune with a focus on their composition and internal structure, formation including potential subsequent giant impacts, and thermal evolution. We present key open questions and discuss the uncertainty in the internal structures of the planets due to the possibility of non-adiabatic and inhomogeneous interiors. We also provide the reasoning for improved observational constraints on their fundamental physical parameters such as their gravitational and magnetic fields, rotation rates, and deep atmospheric composition and temperature. Only this way will we be able to improve our understating of these planetary objects, and the many similar-sized objects orbiting other stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Planets and satellites: ice planets
  • Planets and satellites: individual: Uranus, Neptune
  • Planets and satellites: interiors


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