Jupiter is popularly known for being the largest planet in the Solar system. It is the fifth from the sun after Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, respectively. It got its name from the Roman god of the sky and thunder. On average, it falls third in the brightest objects observable in the sky at night, after the Moon and Venus respectively. Jupiter is one of the gas giants being primarily composed of hydrogen and helium.
Physical Facts Related To Jupiter
Jupiter’s equatorial diameter is about 142,984 kilometers. Its distance from the sun is about 778 million kilometers. It has an average density of about 1.326g/cm3. Its mass is said to be about two and a half times of all other planets in the solar system put together.
Composition of Jupiter
According to space scientists and experts, Jupiter is said to possibly have a rocky core which is surrounded by liquid metallic hydrogen. The planet is predominantly composed of gaseous matter such as hydrogen, and liquids. Unlike other large planets, it does not have a distinct solid surface. It is surrounded by a faint ring resembling that of Saturn. It is also said to possess a powerful magnetosphere, which is responsible for intense periodic radio discharge from the polar regions of the planet.
Atmosphere of Jupiter
Jupiter's atmosphere is a series of several layers whose friction has significant results such as The Great Red Spot - a giant storm which was first observed by a telescope in the 17th century. The planet is covered by clouds whose composition includes ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. They exist in various tropical regions. In these regions, wind speeds as high as 360 km/h have been recorded.
Shape of Jupiter
Just like planet Earth, Jupiter is not actually spherical. It has a slight but significant bulge around its equatorial region. This shape is referred to as oblate spheroid. The shape is said to result from rapid rotation of the planet.
Satellites and Heavenly Bodies of Jupiter
Jupiter has whopping 79 natural satellites (moons). They include the four large Galilean moons which were discovered Galileo Galilei in 1610. The largest of them, Ganymede, is said to have a greater diameter than that of planet Mercury.
Rotation and Revolution of the Planet
Of all the planets in the solar system, Jupiter has the shortest rotation period, despite being the largest. It completes a rotation in slightly less than 10 hours. The planet completes a revolution around the sun for every 11.86 revolutions. This means a ‘year’ in Jupiter is equivalent to 11.86 years on earth! Every 398.9 days, it is overtaken by the earth as it orbits around the sun.
Gravitational Force of Jupiter
Jupiter’s gravitational force is said to have an influence on the shape of the solar system, in that most planets’ orbits lie closer to its detour plane, and not that of the sun (apart from that of Mercury). It also controls numerous heavenly bodies around the Lagrangian points.
Countless experts and scientists have shown interest on the planet, ranging from the 15th century’s Galileo Galilei to NASA, currently, the world’s largest space research organization based in the US. Various researchers come up with findings that may vary. One common finding is the fact that currently, Jupiter cannot support human, animal or plant life.