In the solar system, Jupiter is the largest existing planet. The nine planets are; Mercury, venus, earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Jupiter is fifth from the sun. The other planets could fit in Jupiter. If people paid attention to the size of this planet, most of us would freak out just at the thought of the giant planet. Jupiter has some rings around it that are made of dust thus are quite faint, unlike that of planet Saturn, made of ice. It is surrounded by a good number of rings. For many years, a giant storm has raged on this planet which came to be termed as Great Red Spot.
Facts about Jupiter
The swirls and stripes of Jupiter are cold alongside the windy clouds of water and ammonia. Different spacecraft have conducted studies on Jupiter closely. The history of Jupiter in space exploration is unique. Galileo Galilei is the first astronomer to discover the moons on this planet beyond earth. The width of Jupiter is 11 times that of planet earth. The radius of Jupiter is 69,911 kilometers (43,440.7 miles). Among the other planets in the solar system, Jupiter takes the shortest time to rotate. It has the shortest day.
There are several interesting and unique facts about the planet;
1. Jupiter is the largest planet
Out of all the planets in the solar system, Jupiter is the largest of them all. Surprisingly, it can hold all the other planets. Ideally, thirteen hundred planet piles of earth could fit there. It has a diameter of 142,984 KMs.
2. The mass of Jupiter
The mass of this planet is 317.83 times that of earth. Its mass is known to be 1,898,130,000,000,000,000 billion kg.
3. The Galilean moons
The planet was discovered by Galileo Galilei, an astronomer, in 1610. He discovered about the four moons which are named after him in his honor. The moons he discovered were Europa, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto.
4. The naming of the planet
Jupiter is named after Zeus, the god of the Greeks. In the history of Greek mythology, Zeus was the reigning king over the other gods. On the other hand, in Roman mythology, Jupiter is the name given to their king of the gods.
5. The atmosphere
The planet has a similar atmosphere to that of the sun. It is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium.
6. Fastest spinning and the rotating planet
In the solar system, Jupiter is the planet that spins the fastest. One rotation in Jupiter around the axis takes less than 10 hours. The days here are the shortest.
7. The width at the equator
Compared to the width of Jupiter at its poles, it is 7 percent wider at the equator. The spinning speed is extreme and makes it bulge at the waistline, or rather the equator making it wider.
8. Dense core
The core of this planet is dense and massive. There is uncertainty concerning the composition at the core. The helium-rich fluid metallic hydrogen is the layer that surrounds the core. The atmosphere wrapping it up is made up of molecular hydrogen.
9. The magnetic field
Jupiter has an extremely strong magnetic field. Compared to earth’s magnetic field, Jupiter is 20,000 times stronger.
10. Strong radiations
The belt formed around the planet is composed of electrons. The radiations from the particular belt are way stronger than the humans’ lethal radiation dose. Radiations are very intense. The probe of NASA was damaged despite having been heavily shielded.
11. Radio waves emitted
The radio waves are so strong that one can detect them from the earth. They are released in two different forms. The first is directly from Jupiter’s radiation belt. Second is Io, one of the moons of Jupiter.
12. Colored bands
Jupiter contains colored brands. They appear in the form of dark belts and light zones. The strong east-west winds result in the appearance of the colored bands. The winds travel at a speed of 400 miles per hour in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter.
13. White clouds
The frozen ammonia crystals result in the formation of white clouds. On the other hand, other chemicals existing in the darker belts form the dark clouds.
14. The great red spot
This is the iconic and most extraordinary feature of the planet. The great red spot is a giant storm that has been raging in Jupiter for many centuries. There are times when it disappears. At its widest, the storm is three times the diameter of the earth. It spins at a speed of 360 km per hour.
15. Color changes in the great red spot-
Quite often, the iconic feature is seen to change color. Colors vary from light brown to brick red. Scientists and researchers believe that the color changes are a result of the little amounts of sulfur and phosphorus. The gases are present in the ammonia crystals composed in the Jupiter clouds.
16. The gravity
Compared to earth, the gravity of Jupiter is 2.4 times that of earth. For instance, a person weighing 200 pounds while on earth visits Jupiter will weigh 480 pounds.
17. High atmospheric pressure
The pressure in Jupiter is 1000times more than the earth’s pressure. Humans cannot survive under such kind of pressure. They can be easily crushed. This explains why the planet is inhabitable. Tardigrades can survive but not humans.
18. A high number of moons
There is a total number of 67 moons that are recorded. Most of them have been named after Roman god’s lovers. Jupiter is the name given to the king of all Roman gods, so it is not a wonder they have named the moons in that criteria. The four Galilean moons are the largest.
19. The largest moon-
Among the four Galilean moons, Ganymede is the largest. In the entire solar system, this is still the largest moon. The moon is bigger than the planets Mercury and Pluto.
20. Atmospheric composition
The atmosphere of Jupiter is different from that of earth and a bit similar to the sun. It is composed of 89.8% molecular hydrogen being the largest composition, followed by 10.2% helium. The other percentage contains traces of water, methane, ethane, ammonia hydrosulfide aerosols, hydrogen deuterate, and ammonia and water ice aerosols.
21. Europa moon composition
Moon is yet another interesting celestial body. It has the smoothest surface out of all the other components of the solar system. The crust of this moon is solid, mainly composed of water ice. It is believed that the amount of liquid water beneath the ice is twice the amount of water on earth.
The mantle of the moon can be assumed to hold an ocean that has a depth of around 100km. The Callisto moon also has an ocean. Europa has a rocky mantle that is under the oceanic mantle that surrounds an iron core. Its mantle could also have volcanic activity. The heat produced here causes currents as well as other activity in the crust and the ocean of the moon. Scientists question if Europa has its own life because of the chemicals and heat from the volcanoes within its mantle.
22. The Jupiter rings
The planet has three rings, and most people assume that the only planet in the solar system with rings is Saturn. However, Jupiter was discovered to have rings too. The rings discovered at the equator of Jupiter were fainter than those of the neighboring planet Saturn. Voyager 1 of NASA spacecraft is credited for the discovery of the rings.
23. The halo ring
The innermost ring. The ring appears like a cloud. It has a thickness of 12,000 miles.
24. The main ring
The second ring is relatively brighter than the halo ring. The halo ring extends to the top of the clouds from the middle of the main ring. The two rings are made of small dark particles.
25. Gossamer ring
It is the outermost ring. It is composed of celestial debris that can be viewed using a microscope. The gossamer ring is pretty transparent. The main debris mainly contains dust particles with diameters of 10 microns and below. Scientists and researchers believe that the debris is from the Thebe, Amalthea, and Adrastea moons.
26. Composition of the outer mantle
The outer mantle of Jupiter is composed of liquid hydrogen. This is a result of the high atmospheric pressure and incredible heat inside the planet. In that case, liquid hydrogen is not very rare as compared to metallic hydrogen. It is possible to produce it in the industries. The commonly used rocket fuel globally in the current era is liquid hydrogen.
27. The Great Red Spot was first discovered in the early 17th Century
The first recorded sighting dates back to 1665. The iconic feature is considered the longest ongoing storm that has ever been recorded in history. It means that the storm has raged for more than 355 years. Scientists are not sure if the storm was in existence before the discovery. The actual age of this raging storm might be older.
28. Fluctuations in size of the great red spot-
The great red spot has changed in size over its time in existence that is proved to be centuries. The constant changes in the atmospheric conditions keep it going and, at the same time, influence the composition. In the early 18th Century, the storm was too small to be visible but then regained its strength and size by 1830. In the second of the 19th Century, astronomers recorded the red spot measuring 41,000Km. From that period, it began shrinking again, and by 2009, it measured at 17,910km across. Today, the estimated width of the great red spot is 930km per year.
29. Io moon has the least amount of water-
Out of the bodies within the entire solar system, Io has the least water. Apart from being the body with the least water, it is the most active body in volcanic activity. At any given time, there are like 400 active volcanoes. Rock composes its mantle and crust. The surface has a larger part of it crusted by the sulfur deposits from the many volcanoes. Under the mantle of the Io moon, there is a solid core that is made from sulfur and iron.
30. Spacecraft’s to the planet-
Scientists have made efforts to get to explore and gain more knowledge concerning the largest planet. There have been nine aircraft visiting the gigantic gaseous orb. The mid-’70s had several explorations: the Pioneers 10 and 11, Voyagers 1 and 2 in 1979. In 1995, the Galileo probe and orbiter reached Jupiter.
Pioneers served as scouts showing the tolerance of the radiation environment. They mapped out major and important characteristics of Jupiter and the environment.
Sophisticated instruments of the voyagers provided important information that was analyzed during the Galileo mission. Cassini, Ulysses, and New Horizons’ missions are spacecraft that explored Jupiter.
The Juno orbiter arrived in Jupiter in 2016 on a mission planned to take two years. The orbiter has studied the gravity, magnetic field, and composition of the planet while sending the data back to the scientists on earth for further research. After the discovery of the fragmented core, the study is focused on the elements distributed across the planet. Water levels in the atmosphere are also a center of study.
The article has dealt with several facts most of us did not know about Jupiter. The majority of the people only know that it’s one of the largest planets on the solar system and that it has rings surrounding it. Now thanks to the article, more have been known, such as its unique features and components.
The major difference from other planets makes Jupiter an interesting planet. Its size, for example, is twice as big as some of the other planets. The level of gravity on the planet is strong in that a rocket would need extra energy and speed to evade gravity. Lastly, the magnetic field around the planet is magnificent. It’s equated to be 20 times stronger than that of planet earth.