Jupiter is the Solar System’s biggest planet, and the fifth in terms of distance from the Sun. Jupiter has been known to ancient astronomers and was named after the Roman god Jupiter by the ancient Romans. Here are some interesting facts associated with Jupiter.
Jupiter’s Distance From The Sun Varies
The Sun and the Jupiter are separated by a distance of about 779 million km (484 million miles). The figure is an average distance of Jupiter from the Sun as the planet revolves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit and not a circular one. Thus, at the perihelion position (when Jupiter is the closest to the Sun), the distance between the two astronomical bodies is 741 million km. At the aphelion position, when Jupiter is furthest away from the Sun, the distance between the two bodies is 817 million km.
Expressed in terms of astronomical units (used to measure distances in the Solar System), the distance between Jupiter and the Sun is 5.2 AU.
How Big is Jupiter?
The mass of Jupiter is 2.5 times the combined masses of Solar System’s other planets. The mass of Jupiter is so high that the barycenter of the planet is at a distance of 1.068 solar radii from the center of the Sun and lies above the surface of the Sun. The diameter of Jupiter is 1/10th that of the Sun and its mass is 0.001 times the mass of the Sun.
How Many Earths Fit In Jupiter?
1,321 Earths would fit in Jupiter. The planet is 318 times the mass of the Earth.
Jupiter Would Shrink If It Had Greater Mass
According to theory, if Jupiter had greater mass than what it has today, after crossing a certain threshold, the planet would actually shrink in size as the high pressure would force its volume to decrease and become more compressed!
What is Jupiter Made Of?
The composition of Jupiter is believed to vary from the core outwards. The planet is considered to have a dense core with a mixture of elements whose composition is still unknown. Surrounding the core is a liquid layer of metallic hydrogen and smaller volumes of helium. The outermost layer above this liquid layer is predominantly composed of the molecular hydrogen.
Atmospheres of Jupiter
Jupiter has the Solar System’s largest atmosphere. Jupiter’s atmosphere stretches for a distance of 5,000 km. Since the base of the atmosphere of the planet cannot be determined due to the absence of a solid surface of the planet, the atmosphere is considered to begin from the area where the atmospheric pressure equals 100 kPa.
The atmosphere of Jupiter is segregated into different bands varying with latitude and is an area of intense weather phenomena including massive storms and turbulence. Clouds composed of crystals of ammonia are arranged in layers in the atmosphere. Wind speeds as high as 360 km/h is common. The brown and orange color of Jupiter’s clouds are believed to be a result of the interaction of the chemical compounds in the clouds with the solar rays. The exact composition of these chromophores is not known but could include sulfur, phosphorus, and hydrocarbons.
Jupiter’s Red Spot
The most well-known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot that was first detected in the 17th century. It is an anticyclonic storm located 22° to the south of the planet’s equator and is larger than the Earth in size. It can even be observed by Earth-based telescopes. Such storms are known to be common in the atmospheres of giant planets like Jupiter. Mathematical models suggest that the Great Red Spot is there to stay as a permanent feature of the planet.
Moons Of Jupiter
Jupiter has the highest number of moons in the Solar System. It has 69 known moons. Ganymede, one of the four Galilean moons, is Jupiter’s largest moon. The other Galilean moons are Io, Callisto, and Ganymede. These moons are the biggest and heaviest objects to orbit Jupiter while the rest of the moons and the rings of the planet comprise only 0.003% of the planet’s total orbital mass.
How Far Is Jupiter From Earth?
The distance between the Earth and Jupiter keeps varying every day of the year. The variance is due to the revolution of both the planets on their elliptical orbits around the Sun. When they are closest to each other, the distance between the planets is 628,743,036 km or 4.2 AU and when they are farthest apart, the distance between Earth and Jupiter is 928,081,020 km or 6.2 AU.
How Long is a Year On Jupiter?
Jupiter would complete one revolution around the Sun in 11.8618 Earth years or 4,332.59 Earth days.
Jupiter Rotates the Fastest
Jupiter rotates the fastest among the planets of the Solar System. It completes one rotation on its axis in less than 10 hrs.