Jupiter is the easiest solar system plant to see with the naked eye or binoculars. Here are five fascinating facts about Jupiter.
- Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It’s diameter at the equator is 142,984 km which is 11.2 times bigger than the Earth. That is huge!
- Jupiter is the most massive planet in the solar system with a mass of 1.899×10^27 kg. That is 1,899,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg which is 318 times more than the Earth. Jupiter is so massive that it has 2.5 times the combined mass of all the other planets, satellites, asteroids, meteoroids and comets in the solar system. That is huge!
- Jupiter has a storm that has raged for at least 350 years called the Great Red Spot. It was first seen by Robert Hooke in 1664 but is thought that the storm has raged for a lot longer. The Great Red Spot changes in size between 40,000 — 14,000 km, and at it’s largest you can fit 3 Earths side by side in it!
- The core of Jupiter is thought to be a small rocky core about 11,000 km in diameter, slightly smaller than Earth at 12,800 km, with a mass of 2.6% or 4.937×10^25 kg. The rest of Jupiter’s huge size is made up of mostly helium and liquid hydrogen with a thin layer of gaseous helium and hydrogen on the surface.
- Jupiter has at least 63 moons in it’s orbit. The four largest are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto which were discovered in 1610. These four Jovian moons can be seen orbiting the planet through a pair of binoculars. It has recently been confirmed that Europa has a liquid water under it’s icy surface through observations of jets rising from it’s surface. NASA has recently put some money towards investigating a mission to explore Europa.
NoticeInformation taken from Universe, 9th edition, Freedman et al, 2011, ISBN-10: 1-4292-3153-X