Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is the third-brightest natural object in the Earth’s night sky after the Moon and Venus. It has been observed since prehistoric times and is named after the Roman god Jupiter, the king of the gods, because of its observed size.More than eleven Earths would fit across its diameter. It’s also the most massive. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, with room to spare.
Some facts about Jupiter
Diameter- 142,984 km
Orbital period- 11.8yrs
Length of a Day- 10 hours
Axis tilt- 3degrees
Distance from the Sun- 779 million km(5.2AU)
Moons- 79known moons
Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen, but helium comprises one quarter of its mass and one tenth of its volume. It likely has a rocky core of heavier elements, but like the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a well-defined solid surface. The on-going contraction of its interior generates heat greater than the amount received from the Sun. Because of its rapid rotation, the planet’s shape is that of an oblate spheroid; it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator. The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, with turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. A prominent result of this is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century, when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding Jupiter is a powerful magnetosphere. Jupiter’s magnetic tail is nearly 800 million km long, covering the entire distance to Sa turn’s orbit. Jupiter has almost a hundred known moons and possibly many more, including the four large Galilean moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.
Natural Satellites and Rings
Jupiter has 79 known natural satellites. Of these, 60 are less than 10 km in diameter. The four largest moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, collectively known as the “Galilean moons” Jupiter has a faint planetary ring system composed of three main segments: an inner torus of particles known as the halo, a relatively bright main ring, and an outer gossamer ring.These rings appear to be made of dust, rather than ice as with Saturn’s rings
The composition of Jupiter is similar to that of the Sun—mostly hydrogen and helium. Deep in the atmosphere, pressure and temperature increase, compressing the hydrogen gas into a liquid. This gives Jupiter the largest ocean in the solar system—an ocean made of hydrogen instead of water. Scientists think that, at depths perhaps halfway to the planet’s center, the pressure becomes so great that electrons are squeezed off the hydrogen atoms, making the liquid electrically conducting like metal. Jupiter’s fast rotation is thought to drive electrical currents in this region, generating the planet’s powerful magnetic field. It is still unclear if, deeper down, Jupiter has a central core of solid material or if it may be a thick, super-hot and dense soup. It could be up to 90,032 degrees Fahrenheit (50,000 degrees Celsius) down there, made mostly of iron and silicate minerals (similar to quartz).
Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter, making its closest approach to the planet in December 1973. Jupiter has since been explored on a number of occasions by robotic spacecraft, beginning with the Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions from 1973 to 1979, and later by the Galileo orbiter, which arrived at Jupiter in 1995. In 2007, Jupiter was visited by the New Horizons probe, which used Jupiter’s gravity to increase its speed and bend its trajectory en route to Pluto. The latest probe to visit the planet, Juno, entered orbit around Jupiter in July 2016. Future targets for exploration in the Jupiter system include the probable ice-covered liquid ocean of the moon Europa.
Jupiter – Wikipedia