The Planets

Pttm, Going Postal

To give an idea of the size, you can see here that Jupiter is rather larger than Earth! I thought it best to include all our planets (and Pluto), as Jupiter is massive, relative to all the other planets.

Pttm, Going Postal
Earth’s relative size compared to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

The Prologue:

Throughout this series, I would like to give a huge H/T to NASA..  I have used other sources as well, such as  and EarthSky which is a great site for showing you where to look.

Part 5 – Jupiter

Here is Jupiter showing of course the great red spot, but also the auroras.  On Earth the auroras are sun-driven, but there is some debate if Jupiter’s are, the electrons generating Jupiter’s polar glows may be accelerated by turbulent waves in the planet’s magnetic field.

Pttm, Going Postal
Hubble Captures Vivid Auroras in Jupiter’s Atmosphere

Jupiter is named after the King of the Roman gods.

Date of Discovery: 7th or8th century

Orbit: Approximately 484 million miles from the sun (five times as far from the Sun as the Earth is).

Day: Approximately 10 Earth hours.

Year: Approximately 12 Earth years.

Average diameter: Approximately 88,846 miles.

Surface gravity: Approximately 2.5 times Earth’s.

Jupiter also has rings, 4 of them, there images, but it;s not like Saturn.

Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the solar system.  Only the Sun, our Moon and Venust are brighter. It is one of five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth.

Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets.  It turns on its axis once every 9 hours and 55 minutes. The rapid rotation flattens the planet slightly, giving it an oblate shape.

Jupiter orbits the Sun once every 11.8 Earth years.  From our point of view on Earth, it appears to move slowly in the sky, taking months to move from one constellation to another.

Jupiter has unique cloud features.  The upper atmosphere of Jupiter is divided into cloud belts and zones. They are made primarily of ammonia crystals, sulfur, and mixtures of the two compounds.

Jupiter’s atmosphere is special because it is the solar system’s largest planetary atmosphere. It is made up of hydrogen and helium, in roughly the same proportions as are found in the sun. However, it also contains much smaller amounts of other space gases, such as ammonia, methane and water. 90% of the atmosphere of Jupiter – a huge proportion – is made of hydrogen.

The Great Red Spot is a huge storm on Jupiter.  It has raged for at least 350 years.  It is so large that three Earths could fit inside it.

Jupiter’s interior is made of rock, metal, and hydrogen compounds.  Below Jupiter’s massive atmosphere (which is made primarily of hydrogen), there are layers of compressed hydrogen gas, liquid metallic hydrogen, and a core of ice, rock, and metals.

In total. so far 67 moons have been discoverd.  Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system.  Jupiter’s moons are also  called the Jovian satellites, the largest of these are Ganymeade, Callisto Io and Europa.  Ganymeade measures 5,268 km across, making it larger than the planet Mercury.

Jupiter has a thin ring system.  Its rings are composed mainly of dust particles ejected from some of Jupiter’s smaller worlds during impacts from incoming comets and asteroids. The ring system begins some 92,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops and stretches out to more than 225,000 km from the planet.  They are between 2,000 to 12,500 kilometres thick.

Eight spacecraft have visited Jupiter.  Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, Ulysses, and New Horizons missions.  The Juno mission arrived in July 2016. Other future missions may focus on the Jovian moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and their subsurface oceans.  You can see the latest images from the Juno mission Juno Mission.

Where to find it:

January guide to the bright planets

Check the above link regularly to see where planets and stars can currently be seen.

© Phil the test manager 2018