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JUPITER

Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System.  It is not a solid terrestrial planet like Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, but rather the largest of the gas-giants.  Jupiter may have a solid core, but what we see as the surface of the planet, is really a colourful, thick and turbulent atmosphere.

The most famous feature on Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm system, large enough to contain about two Earths.  It has persisted since at least 1831, and maybe as early as 1665 or even earlier.


Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope, ESA/NASA.

 

Close-up of Jupiter's Great Red Spot in 2017.


Image credit: Juno, NASA.

 

Like Saturn and indeed all the gas-giant planets of the Solar System, Jupiter has a series of rings.  Here, Jupiter's main ring can be seen, although in reality it is very faint, consisting mainly of dust.


Image credit: Galileo, NASA.

 

Jupiter Facts

Diameter (mean): 142,984 kilometres (142 thousand, 984 kilometres), or 88,846 miles (88 thousand, 846 miles)

Distance from the Sun: 778,299,000 kilometres (778 million, 299 thousand kilometres), or 483,612,000 miles (483 million, 612 thousand miles)

Rotation period (day): 9.93 Earth hours

Orbital period (year): 11.8618 Earth years or 4,332.59 Earth days or 10,475.8 Jupiter days

Moons: 67 in total, namely, Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, Thebe, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Themisto, Leda, Himalia, Lysithea, Elara, Dia, Carpo, S/2003 J 12, Euporie, S/2003 J 3, S/2003 J 18, S/2011 J 1, S/2010 J 2, Thelxinoe, Euanthe, Helike, Orthosie, Iocaste, S/2003 J 16, Praxidike, Harpalyke, Mneme, Hermippe, Thyone, Ananke, Herse, Aitne, Kale, Taygete, S/2003 J 19, Chaldene, S/2003 J 15, S/2003 J 10, S/2003 J 23, Erinome, Aoede, Kallichore, Kalyke, Carme, Callirrhoe, Eurydome, S/2011 J 2, Pasithee, S/2010 J 1, Kore, Cyllene, Eukelade, S/2003 J 4, Pasiphe, Hegemone, Arche, Isonoe, S/2003 J 9, S/2003 J 5, Sinope, Sponde, Autonoe, Megaclite and S/2003 J 2.

The moons close to Jupiter are constantly pulled and squeezed by the planets powerful gravitational field.  Here Io can be seen with the swirling clouds of Jupiter far below.


Image credit: Cassini, ASI/ESA/NASA.

 

Jupiter is a vast world, dwarfing Earth in size.


Image credit: Juno, NASA.

 

Jupiter's atmosphere is storm riddled.  Many of the storms on Jupiter are colossal in size, being larger than countries or even continents on Earth.


Image credit: Juno, NASA.