- Other bodies
- Basic Definitions
Jupiter is named after the Roman God, Jupiter. Jupiter holds nearly two-thirds of all planetary mass of the solar system.
Being the fourth brightest object in the sky after the Sun, Moon and Venus, Jupiter is visible to the naked eye in the night sky.
In 1610 AD, Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer and physicist, first discovered Jupiter’s four major moons namely Io, Europa, Callisto and Callisto (also called the Galilean moons) with his home-made telescope. He first thought that the faint images he observed were stars but later realized that these were planetary objects in orbit around Jupiter.
The total number of moons in the Jovian system is 63 giving it the distinction of being the planet with the most number of moons. The list ofJupiter’ moons are as follows:
Many of Jupiter’s outer moons may be asteroids that seem to have been captured into an orbit around Jupiter due to its strong gravitational pull.
With a mass of 1.8987 x 1027 kg, Jupiter is about 318 times as massive as the Earth. Jupiter resembles a star in composition. In fact, if it had been about eighty times more massive, it would have become a star rather than a planet.
Jupiter has the fastest rotation speed (takes ten hours to complete one rotation) amongst all planets in the Solar System.
The atmosphere of Jupiter is composed of 90% hydrogen and 10% helium. This composition is very similar to the composition of the Solar Nebula. Trace amounts of methane, ammonia, water vapor, carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulphide, neon, oxygen and sulfur can also be found in its atmosphere.
|Surface Views of Jupiter|
Jupiter has a core made up of rocky material which is covered by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen. This liquid metallic hydrogen comprises of ionized protons and electrons similar to the interior of the Sun but at a far lower temperature.
The Great Red Spot (Storm of the Centuries)
One of the most distinguishing features of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot which is a storm in the southern hemisphere as huge as twice the Earth. The Great Red Spot has been observed on the surface ofJupiter for nearly 300 years now.
|The Great Red Spot|
The Great Red Spot is about 30,000 km in length and 14,000 km in width. The huge storm is fueled by merging of a number of smaller storms. The reason behind the storm to persist for such a long period of time is still unknown.
Jupiter has Rings?Jupiter’s rings were discovered by the spacecraft Voyager 1 which was targeted specifically to search for any Jovian rings. The ring is now known to contain three major components i.e. the Halo Ring (approx width of 22,800 km), the Main Ring (6,400 km) and the Gossamer Ring (85,000 km).
Jupiter has uniform rings that are much smaller and fainter than those of Saturn. The rings are dark and contain tiny rock material.
Its rings are composed of dust particles less than 10 microns in diameter. It extends to an outer edge of about 129,000 kilometers from the center ofJupiter. The rings are believed to have originated from a meteorite bombardment of the tiny satellites orbiting within the ring system.