Jupiter, the fifth planet of our solar system is the largest and equally unique. It has a mass of 1.90 * 10^27 kg and its mean diameter is 139,822km. Let’s know the interesting facts about Jupiter.
The name Jupiter had been given after the king of Roman Gods. For Germanic tribes this planet represented Donar or Thor. For Greeks, the Jupiter was seen as the God of thunder, Zeus. For Mesopotamian’s Jupiter represented God Merduk and also the patron of Babylon city.
Source: space-facts.com, image: wikimedia.org
2. Unique composition
Jupiter is a planet with unique composition. In its center an ocean is situated and this ocean is of liquid metal i.e. metallic hydrogen. This ocean of liquid metal is surrounded by an envelope of hydrogen and helium gas with thickness ranging up to thousands of kilometers.
3. Jupiter in night sky
After moon and Venus, Jupiter is the third brightest object one can see at night. You can watch Jupiter even with a small telescope or a good pair of binoculars.
Source: toptenz.net, image: wikimedia.org
4. Earth and Jupiter
A comparison between Earth and Jupiter in respect to their mass and radius is very interesting. The mass of Jupiter equates to the mass of 317 Earths! Also Jupiter is so huge that when lined up in a straight line, it would take about 11 Earth to reach from one end of Jupiter to another. You can fit about 1300 Earths inside Jupiter. Isn’t Jupiter huge?
5. Slow moving Jupiter
6. Fastest spinning planet
Even though Jupiter orbits very slowly around the sun, yet it is the fastest spinning planet in the entire solar system. One rotation of Jupiter about its axis takes a mere 10 hours! It is rotating so fast that the planet has started to bulge at equator while flattening out at other places.
7. So many Moons
Imagine looking up in the night sky and it is filled with 67 moons of various shapes, sizes and colors. That’s what it looks from the Jupiter as this planet alone has 67 moons. These moons are divided into three categories: the inner moons, the Galilean moons and the outer moons. Some of these moons are so big that Pluto seems like a smaller counterpart in measurement. One of the moons of Jupiter, Ganymede, is the largest moon in the solar system.
8. The great red spot is shrinking
You must be familiar with the famous great red spot on the Jupiter which is believed to have been on the planet for the last 350 years. The red spot is a huge storm which is about the size of Earth and is actually shrinking. It’s currently half the size of what it used to be a century ago. Would it disappear completely? No one knows.
Source: universetoday.com, image: wikimedia.org
9. Jupiter has rings
Jupiter has rings around it just like Saturn but much fainter. They are believed to be made out of matters which were ejected by Jupiter’s moons especially when these moons were struck by meteor.
Source: universetoday.com, image: wikimedia.org
10. Bands on Jupiter
If you look at Jupiter closely you will see many bands of different hues of red and brown on it. These are due to the colorful clouds around Jupiter which are very thick and filled with poisonous gases. Jupiter spins so quick on its axis that it whips up the atmosphere just like we whip up eggs at move. This constant whipping creates the bands of different colored cloud around the planet.
Source: sciencekids.co.nz, image: wikimedia.org
11. Strange atmosphere
The atmosphere of Jupiter is very strange. It is thin and cold on outside but as you go inside it will become thicker and hotter. If you continue to go inside the atmosphere gradually turns into a thick fog with complete blackness. A 1000 km below in this darkness, the atmosphere turns liquid due to extreme pressure!
12. Very strong magnetic field
13. Strongest gravity
Among all other planets in our solar system, Jupiter has the strongest gravitational pull. Gravity is so high on Jupiter that if we stand on it we will weigh three times more than our Earth weight.
14. Jupiter – solar system’s vacuum cleaner
Jupiter’s extremely strong magnetic field acts like a vacuum cleaner by sucking up all the destructive bodies like comets, meteorites and asteroids. Earth had been saved many times from a very destructive collision by Jupiter. In the year 1994 the comet Shoemaker – Levy 9 was on its way to collide with Earth but thankfully got pulled away from its path by Jupiter and eventually collided into it. Thanks Jupiter!
Source: bobthealien.co.uk, image: wikimedia.org
15. Jupiter has its own radiation
In our solar system, Sun is the greatest source of radiation and all planets are visible due to this radiation. Jupiter is one planet which creates its own radiation even though its light is not as radiant as the sun.
16. Jupiter can’t be a Star
Jupiter emits radiation but it can never become a star. The reason being that there is not enough mass in Jupiter to create the necessary core conditions to become a star.