Ever heard about the planet Jupiter? Here are 11 facts that will open your eyes to the wonders of our precious universe.
Lets look at some of the fascinating facts about the big planet Jupiter.
1. Named after a Roman sky god
Jupiter was discovered about 1300 years ago by the ancient Babylonians. It was named after the highest god in the Roman kingdom, also known as Zeus by the Greeks. This should explain why it is the largest planet of the eight.
The roman god Jupiter had family! A father, Saturn whom he removed from the throne and two brothers, Neptune and Pluto whom he shared the universe with. This made him the most powerful god.
2. It is the biggest planets
Jupiter is the biggest of all planets in size.
It is 300 times more massive than our planet earth at 4,185,696,509,842,089,747,591,200,768 pounds, and 2.5 times more massive than all other planets combined. Can you read its mass aloud ?
Its diameter measures 88,700 miles or 142, 750 kilometers and this is like more than 1300 earth diameters.
It is further from the sun than the earth at 483 million miles or 777 million kilometers.
Did you know that the earth is nearer to the sun than it is to Jupiter ?
3. What about Jupiter’s Famous Red Spot
You’ll never know what’s behind this red spot until you read this!
Jupiter is composed of raging storms that move at an amazing speed of 170 miles per second and clouds that move on the surface of the planet due to the speed with which it spins on its axis. These make it a colorful planet.
One specific hurricane is known to be the largest, has been there for the last 350 years, and resembles an eye. Perhaps this is why it is called the ‘eye of the Jupiter’. A look at the Jupiter through the telescope and you will not miss to see this eye, also known as the famous red spot. This spot was first noticed by Robert Hooke back in 1664.
4. It is the First Gas giant
Four planets of the eight, Jupiter included, are known as ‘gas giants’. This is because they have no hard surface. These planets are fully composed of gas layers. The other three are Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Jupiter is surrounded by poisonous hydrogen, ammonia, helium and methane gases which create bright bands around it because of how fast it spins on its axis.
5. Longer years and shorter days !
It takes Jupiter 4330.6 days to orbit the sun and the earth 365 days to orbit the sun. This means that one Jupiter year is equal to 11.9 years of the earth.
In contrast, Jupiter has much shorter days than the earth. While one day on earth is 24hrs, a day in Jupiter is 9.84 hours. In other words, Jupiter spins faster on its axis than the earth does on its own. Would you possibly fit all you do in a day in Jupiter’s day if you had a chance?
6. The fourth brightest object in the Solar System
Jupiter is the fourth brightest object on the solar system after the sun, the moon, and the Venus planet. This is the reason why it was even discovered, because it is possible to spot it without a telescope.
7. Lots of Moons
Thought the only moon that existed was the one you see at night? Well there are many more.
Jupiter has 67 moons. These were never discovered until the telescope was invented. The first person that ever saw them is an astronomer known as Galileo between the years 1564 and 1642.
Four of the moons are easily visible through a small telescope while the others are so tiny it takes a powerful telescope to see them.
From Jupiter there is IO which has constant volcanic eruptions caused by the pull of gravity on Jupiter as is very close. Following it is Europa which is coated with smooth ice. Beyond this are Ganymede and Callisto that are much larger than Pluto.
The other moons are much smaller.
8. Jupiter too has rings !
Like Saturn, Jupiter has rings. They are three rings, Gosamer, Main, and Halo which can only be seen in front of the sun’s reflection.
When Jupiter passes before the sun, these rings are lighted making them visible.
9. It’s too cold at Jupiter
The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was -82 °C (−128.6 °F) and this happened to be very harsh for humans. Imagine temperatures at -108°C (-226° F) on Jupiter. Would you dare trade earth for Jupiter? I don’t think so.
10. Why Jupiter can’t become a Star
According to scientists, stars generate their energy by fusing masses. As this is happening, their gravity generates heat and pressure from within that pushes hydrogen atoms together to form helium which is responsible for producing heat and this how stars come into being.
Jupiter is too small to start a nuclear fusion that will generate heat. It would take more than 70 Jupiters fused together to generate the energy to form a star but unfortunately, this will never be possible.
11. Jupiter has a powerful “Magnetic Pull”
Just to illustrate how strong Jupiter’s magnetic field is, consider how much you weigh on earth. Were you in Jupiter, you would weigh two and a half times as much.
Jupiter’s magnetic field is actually 14 times stronger than the one on earth. So, now you know why you can’t stay in Jupiter. Not with the strong swirls of hurricanes and the deadly gases.
And on goes the discovery
Would this be all ? Certainly not.
Scientists and astronomers are ever busy trying to get more facts about this amazing planet.
The latest of the eight visits to Jupiter is by Juno the solar powered- Spacecraft. The unmanned spacecraft named after a Roman goddess, was released by NASA on 5th August 2011 to Jupiter and it is estimated that it will take a good five years or it to get there. Interesting, isn’t it?
Check out this video to learn more about Jupiter facts –
Resources and References
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moons_of_Jupiter – Information about Moons of Jupiter
http://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEM6JMMZCIE_OurUniverse_0.html – Information about Jupiter on European Space Agency website