Jupiter is the fifth planet from our Sun and it has been known to men for a long time. Around the 7th or 8th century BC, the sightings of Jupiter was first recorded by the ancient Babylonians. The gas giant, Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and it is named after the king of the Roman gods. All though, scientists have been studying Jupiter for a long time and we’ve learned a lot about it. It still holds many mysteries. If you liked these facts, here are 10 Amazing Facts About Jupiter that you’ll love to know.
10 Amazing Facts About Jupiter
1.Jupiter Is Massive:
Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, in fact, it’s so large that more than 1,300 Earths would fit inside of Jupiter. Jupiter has a mass two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined comparable to one-thousandth that of the Sun’s mass. It has the second-highest density of the giant planets and a diameter of 142,984 km at its equator. The planet is so massive that its barycenter with the Sun lies above the Sun’s surface and it also has the largest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System.
2. Jupiter’s Cloud Layer Is Only 50 km Deep:
Jupiter’s upper atmosphere is mostly clouds made of sulfur and ammonia and the cloud layer is only about 50 km deep, which supposedly stink. It has two decks of clouds- a thick lower deck and a thin clearer region. The rest of the atmosphere of Jupiter is primarily hydrogen and helium. There is also a possibility of water clouds underlying the ammonia layer. Jupiter also gets flashes of lightning but these electrical discharges can be up to a thousand times powerful that of earth’s lightning. Although the cloud’s temperature is about -145 C, Jupiter’s core temperature is almost 24,000 C, hotter than the surface of the Sun. And because of this temperature, the water clouds are assumed to generate thunderstorms in the same way as terrestrial thunderstorms.
3. Jupiter Has The Strongest Magnetic Field:
Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field, as strong as fourteen times of earth’s magnetic field. This strong field is thought to be generated by swirling movements of conducting materials called eddy currents, within the liquid metallic hydrogen core. Jupiter’s magnetic field also helps to form a plasma sheet in its equatorial plane and to generate a dangerous belt of radiation that can cause damage to spacecraft.
Jupiter also has been referred to as the Solar System’s vacuum cleaner because of its enormous gravity well. Because of its location near the inner Solar System and its strong gravity, it receives the most frequent comet impacts of the Solar System’s planets. Jupiter’s gravity is about 2.4 times stronger than the earth’s. Jupiter is also very windy, the average wind speed can be from 192 mph to 400 mph.
4. Jupiter Rotates Faster Than All The Solar System’s Planets:
Jupiter completed its rotation on its axis in slightly less than ten hours which is the fastest of all the Solar System’s planets. And its fast rotation creates an equatorial bulge easily seen through an Earth-based amateur telescope. Jupiter also has the shortest day of all planet, 9 hours and 55 minutes. It is an oblate spheroid shaped planet. Jupiter’s diameter across its equator is longer than the diameter measured between its poles. The gas giant is also the only planet whose barycenter with the Sun lies outside the extent of the Sun. It takes Jupiter 11.86 earth’s years to complete an orbit around the sun
5. Jupiter Could Have Been A Star:
If Jupiter were 75 times more massive and could have fused hydrogen, it would have been a star. Jupiter does radiate more heat than it receives from the Sun. Jupiter produces the same amount of heat inside as the total solar radiation it receives. Because of the additional heat which is generated by the Kelvin–Helmholtz mechanism, Jupiter shrinks about 2 cm every year. Jupiter was about twice its current diameter when it was first formed.
6. Jupiter Has Been Explored Quite A Few Times:
The first spacecraft that orbited Jupiter was the Galileo probe. It entered Jupiter’s orbit on December 7, 1995, and kept orbiting the planet over seven years. From 1979 to 2007, Jupiter has been studied by eight NASA spacecraft. Juno, the latest probe entered into Jupiter’s orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. Jupiter’s moon Europa is the next stop for future examination.
7. The Great Red Spot:
Jupiter’s most famous feature is its Great Red Spot a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century. The red spot is really a persistent anticyclonic storm that is larger than Earth. The Great Red Spot has been known to exist since at least 1831 or possibly since 1665. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown two Red Spots near to the Great Red Spot. The storm is so large that one can see it from Earth through a telescope. Though it is thought that the red spot is a permanent feature of the planet, it has been decreasing since its discovery. The giant storm could be a result of Jupiter’s outer atmosphere which is visibly separated into several bands at different latitudes. Jupiter doesn’t have a well-defined solid surface but a rocky core of heavier elements.
8. Jupiter Is Very Bright:
Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky following the Sun, the Moon and Venus. Some times it can get beaten by Mars in brightness according to its position. Its visual magnitude can be as bright as 2.94. Jupiter can be bright enough to cast shadows. Jupiter also has water deep inside even though its concentration is very low.
9. Jupiter’s Moons:
The number of Jupiter’s moons keeps changing. Currently, it has 79 known natural satellites. The most well-known and the largest moons of Jupiter are the “Galilean moons” which includes Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Out of the 79 moons, 63 are less than 10 kilometres in diameter. The “Galilean moons” can be visible from earth with a binocular on a clear night. Among all of Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede is the largest moon even in the Solar System. Ganymede is, in fact, bigger than Mercury. Europa is probably the most interesting one as it’s almost entirely liquid water beneath its icy surface. It holds twice as much water as Earth.
10. Jupiter’s Ring:
Another famous feature of Jupiter is its faint planetary ring system. Its ring system has three main sections- the halo section, the bright main ring made out of material ejected from the moons Adrastea and Metis and an outer gossamer ring. These rings are primarily made out of dust. These rings are thought to have been born because of Jupiter’s strong gravitational pull.