The solar system consists of the sun and eight planets. Jupiter is one of these eight planets, and the largest planet in the solar system. There are many interesting facts concerning Jupiter that people may be unaware of.
The Name Jupiter
Jupiter gets its name from ancient Roman mythology. In Roman mythology, Jupiter was the one who ruled over all other Gods. He also ruled the sky as well as thunder. He was the son of Saturn, and the Father of Mercury. Remus and Romulus founded Rome, and Jupiter is their Grandfather. In addition, Pluto along with Neptune were brothers of Jupiter. The name Jupiter indicates large and powerful. In fact, Jupiter in Roman mythology was similar or equivalent to the powerful Greek GodZeus. It is assumed the name may have been due to the fact that the planet Jupiter has many storms that are extremely violent. In addition, Jupiter is very large, so the name fits.
The Size of Jupiter
Jupiter is by far the largest planet in the solar system. In mass, Jupiter around two and a half times the size of every other planet combined. In fact, if you were to take all of the other planets and place them inside Jupiter, there would still be plenty of room left inside the planet. The diameter of Jupiter is approximately 143,000 kilometers across. That means it is close to 11 times the size of the planet Earth. Furthermore, one could fit around 1,400 planet Earths inside the planet Jupiter.
The Moons of Jupiter
Jupiter, the largest planet is known for having many moons. In fact, there are at least 63 moons that have been confirmed on this planet. When using a telescope to view Jupiter, one can see four of the largest moons of Jupiter. These moons are called the Galilean Moons. Discovered by Galileo Galilei in the year 1810, they were famous for being the first object to orbit a planet other than Earth. The four famous Galilean moons were named Eurpoa, Lo, Ganymede, and Callisto. These moons are the largest objects to orbit the planet Jupiter. Since the discovery of the four moons, at least 59 others have been discovered. These are called Jovian moons, and get their names from daughters of Jupiter, certain conquests completed, and even from the Greek God Zeus’s family members.
The Great Red Spot
Jupiter is a planet known for the massive red spot that is displayed on its surface. The spot seems to be a mystery to this day. Scientists believe that the red spot is a large series of swirling storms that do not stop moving violently. Images report that this red spot is similar to a hurricane, however one that does not stop swirling. It is estimated that this mysterious red spot is over 300 years old. This astonishing red spot is large enough to fit the size of Earth into the spot twice.
The Jovian ring system, also known as the rings of Jupiter is composed of four rings that surround the planet Jupiter. One of these rings is known as a halo ring, along with two gossamer rings, and one really bright main ring. The rings are primarily composed of dust and other small particles. Furthermore, the halo and gossamer rings are very faint and hard to view. The brightest ring of Jupiter was discovered by the Voyager in the year 1979 and is far more easy to view than the other three rings.
Jupiter is one of four planets in the solar system that is considered a gas giant. The atmosphere is very dense on Jupiter, and this planet is mostly composed of gasses rather than rocks and solids like the planet Earth. Gas giants are very large planets that have a solid core, but a very thick atmosphere. A planet that is a gas giant such as Jupiter does not have any solid surfaces. Jupiter is composed primarily of helium along with hydrogen. Basically, Jupiter is a gigantic ball of nothing more than gas.
Visits from Earth
NASA first visited Jupiter using the Pioneer 10 spacecraft in 1973, and Pioneer 11 in the year 1974. Then, the Voyager I and II visited the planet to take pictures. Voyager I took over 19,000 pictures on its orbit which allowed scientists to study the surface of this amazing planet. Along with pictures, measurements and other data was recorded. Later in the year, Voyager II took an additional 33,000 pictures of the planet. Pictures included Jupiter’s moons, the giant red spot, and the rings of Jupiter.
Jupiter is known to be the fastest rotating planet in the solar system. In fact, it only takes around ten hours for the planet to completely rotate. This is an astonishing speed, especially when taking the size of Jupiter into consideration. The average day of Jupiter is a little under 10 hours.
Jupiter’s Magnetic Field
Jupiter has a very large magnetic field, approximately 14 times stronger than that of the Earth. Scientists believe that this amazing magnetic field is so strong due to metallic hydrogen movements deep inside the core of the planet. Ionized particles are trapped by this magnetic field and surround the planet. This makes it a dangerous area and band of radiation that can damage scientific spacecraft.
Jupiter is an amazing planet that a person can view with their own eyes. The only two objects in the night sky brighter than Jupiter are Venus and the Moon. Jupiter is found very high in the sky and is brighter than the average star. Most likely you have already viewed the planet, but thought that it was only a star. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you have a better chance of seeing this beautiful planet.
The above was only 10 of the most interesting facts about the gigantic planet Jupiter. Everyday, scientists discover exciting new information regarding this planet.