Oxford PAT 2014, Question 10

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8 thoughts on “Oxford PAT 2014, Question 10

  1. I know that Uranus and Neptun are made by Helium and Hidrogen, but they are also clasified as ice giants, not gas giants. What do you think?

    1. Hi Dan. Yes you are absolutely right that Uranus and Neptune tend to be classified as ‘ice giants’ and not ‘gas giants’ these days. This is because they are not mostly composed of H and He (like Jupiter and Saturn are), but also have a large amount of constituents classified as ‘ices’, like water, ammonia etc.

      But here we are only given the choice between two classes of planet: gas giants and rocky planets. Uranus and Neptune are definitely not rocky planets, so calling them gas giants is correct here, I think.

    2. I debated with myself for this answer as well between B and D; it is possible that they wanted the slightly pedantic answer that there are 4 rocky planets and then there are gas giants outside of them, and so it is true to say “the planets change from rocky to gas giants” even if there are ice giants beyond the gas giants. It’s a bit of an annoying question.

      1. It is annoying I agree. I’m pretty sure that the intended answer is D. The term ‘ice giant’ was only introduced in the 1990s (before then Neptune and Uranus were classified as gas giants), so I think that the examiners just weren’t thinking about that term.

        Ironically, if you have never heard of the term ‘ice giant’, this is a very easy question. It’s a nice example of the old adage that it pays not to know too much.

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