Planet Jupiter: 15 interesting facts about Jupiter

| Jupiter Facts Table |

Mass (1024 kg ): 


1,898

Volume (10km^3): 


1,431.28

Equatorial Diameter (km):


142,984

Polar Diameter (km):


133,708

Age of the Planet: 


4.5 billion years

Number of Moons: 


79

Surface Temperature Range : 


(-160 °C ~ 725 °C)

Average Surface Temperature: 


-110 °C

Gravity (m/s2):


23.1

Day Length:


9.9

Average Distance from Sun (106 km):


778.6

Closest Distance to Sun (Perihelion) (106 km):


740.5

Furthest Distance from Sun (Aphelion) (106 km):


816.6

Orbit Length: 


4,903 million km

Orbiting velocity (km/h):


47,160

Time to Orbit the Sun (Orbital Period): 


11.9 Earth's year

Actual Color: 


White, Yellow, Brown and Red

Appearance Color: 


White, Yellow, Brown and Red

Atmosphere Thickness:


Around 1,000 km

Axial Tilt Angle (degrees):


3.13

Time for Sunlight to Reach the planet:

43 minutes and 15 seconds

Magnetic field:

Exist

Ring system: 


Exist
Jupiter PLanet
Credit: NASA

Jupiter, the oldest planet in our solar system, is a gas giant composed primarily of hydrogen and helium gases with the exception of the small rocky core it houses at its center. In the planetary lineup of our solar system, it is positioned fifth from the Sun behind Mars and our home planet, Earth. Jupiter distinguishes itself with its powerful gravitational force: Jupiter has the strongest gravity when compared with all of the other planets in the solar system – strong enough to attract an enormous amount of space asteroids, comets, and meteoroids.

Jupiter is further differentiated by being in possession of the largest moon in the solar system, Ganymede, which is larger than the planet of Mercury! Jupiter also hosts the infamous Great Red Spot in its atmosphere; a high-pressure region where clouds travel at a speed of 384 mph (618 km/h). Keep reading to become acquainted with the most interesting facts about Jupiter: The largest planet in our solar system.

1. Jupiter is more than twice as massive as all of the other planets in our solar system combined.

Jupiter’s mass equals  4,184 x 1024 lbs (1,898 x 1024 kg). If the masses of all the planets in our solar system were to be combined and then doubled, Jupiter’s mass would still remain greater.

Compared with Earth, which has a mass of 13.2 x 1024 lbs (5.97×1024 kg), Jupiter’s mass is around 318 times greater.

2. Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the solar system.

Jupiter is the second brightest planet out of the five planets in our solar system that are bright enough to be discernible by the naked eye (the complete list includes Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter). When we take the Sun and Moon into consideration, however, Jupiter becomes the fourth brightest object in the solar system after the Sun, Moon, and Venus.

3. Jupiter has the shortest day out of all the planets; spinning around its axis once every 10 hours.

A day on Jupiter is only 10 hours long, which is the shortest day length out of all the solar system’s planets. Jupiter experiences such a short length of day due to its exceedingly fast rate of rotation around its axis.

4. Jupiter orbits the sun once every 11.9 Earth years.

Jupiter is located 484 million miles (778 million km) (5.2 AU) away from, on average, from the Sun. It takes Jupiter 11.9 Earth years to complete a full orbit around the Sun. 

5. Sunlight takes 43 minutes to reach Jupiter’s surface.

Jupiter is located 484 million miles (778.6 million km) away, on average, from the Sun. Moving at a speed of 0.186 million miles/s (0.3 million km/s), light requires an average of 2,595.3 seconds (43 minutes and 15 Seconds) to reach Jupiter’s surface.

–       At Perihelion (where Jupiter is at its closest position in relation to the Sun), the distance between the Sun and Jupiter equals 1,633 million miles (740.5 million km), which means that light requires 2,466.6 seconds (41 minutes and 7 seconds) to reach Jupiter’s surface.

–       At Aphelion (where Jupiter is at its farthest position in relation to the Sun), the distance between the Sun and Jupiter equals 507.0 million miles (816.6 million km), which means that light requires 2,722 seconds (45 minutes and 21 seconds) to reach Jupiter’s surface.

To summarize, sunlight takes a relatively long time to reach the surface of Jupiter; requiring a range of 41 minutes 7 seconds to 45 minutes and 21 seconds depending on the planet’s position relative to the Sun. 

6. Jupiter is surrounded by 79 known moons.

As determined by NASA, Jupiter hosts a grand total of 79 moons, 53 of which possess names. The remaining 26 moons are awaiting the designation of their official names [1]. Until recently, Jupiter was known as the planet with the most moons. When Saturn was discovered to have 20 more moons, it lost this title.

7. Jupiter has the largest moon in the solar system Ganymede; it is larger than the mercury planet.

Credit: NASA

Jupiter hosts 79 known moons. Out of this large assortment, the four largest moons are Io, Europa, Callisto, and, finally, the largest moon of not just this bunch, but the entire solar system: Ganymede. Astronomer Galileo Galilei was the first observer to recognize the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610 by utilizing an early version of a telescope. Jupiter’s four largest moons are thus aptly called “Galilean satellites” and considered to be some of the most fascinating objects in the solar system.

8. Jupiter hosts a swirling oval of clouds known as the “Great Red Spot” that spans twice the width of Earth.

The Great Red Spot
Credit: NASA

The Great Red Spot is a giant storm located in Jupiter’s atmosphere that is bigger than Earth in its entirety. It has raged for more than 300 years and achieved wind speeds that are twice as strong as those produced by the strongest cyclone ever recorded on Earth. Hurricane Patricia (a category 5 hurricane) is the most intense tropical cyclone in recorded human history. In 2015, its wind speeds reached  215 mph (346 km/h), which is strong enough to level entire cities in just a matter of hours. In comparison with the Great Red Spot, Hurricane Patricia looks weak; wind speeds in the Great Red Spot can reach up to a remarkable 384 mph (618 km/h), which is almost twice the speed of winds generated by Hurricane Patricia.

9. Recently, new oval-shaped clouds have merged to form the Little Red Spot.

Alongside the Great Red Spot, Jupiter hosts a relatively smaller amalgamation of oval-shaped clouds called the “Little Red Spot.” This storm is about half the size of the Great Red Spot.

Scientists don’t have clear answer as to whether these spots, the Great Red Spot and the Little Red Spot, and other planet-circling bands exist solely at an atmospheric level or reach deeply into Jupiter’s interior.

10. Jupiter has the shortest day out of all the planets.

Jupiter spins very rapidly around its axis; taking about 10 hours to complete a full rotation. As the completion of one spin is equivalent to one day, Jupiter experiences the shortest day out of all the solar system’s planets.

11. Jupiter’s magnetic field is around 20,000 times more powerful than Earth’s magnetic field.

Jupiter’s magnetic field is around 20,000 times more powerful than Earth’s magnetic field, with a reach that spans up to 0.6 – 1.8 million miles (1 – 3 million km) toward the Sun. Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field attracts swarms of electrically charged particles and cause them to accelerate. This process ultimately energizes them, enabling them to reach very high levels of energy. These charged, highly energized particles produce intense radiation that significantly impacts the innermost of moons of Jupiter. This energized radiation has enough energy to destroy spacecraft, if they were to advance into this region. [2]

Curious to learn more? Check out “How does a planet’s magnetic field protect its surface from space radiation?

12. Without Jupiter, Earth might have been destroyed by space asteroids, comets, and meteoroids long ago.

Jupiter has the strongest gravity among all the planets in our solar system: its gravity equals 76 ft/s (23.1 m/s),which is almost 2.4 times stronger than gravity on Earth.

Jupiter’s powerful gravity has been highly influential in determining the shape as well as the very existence of planets in our solar system. Jupiter’s gravity essentially acts as a shield for the planets; by attracting space asteroids, comets, and meteoroids, it preempts their collision with the inner planer planets of our solar system (those planets whose orbits lie within the asteroid belt).

13. Jupiter is the oldest planet in the solar system.

14. Jupiter has three distinct layers of clouds that span about 71 km.

NASA claims that the top layer of clouds is most likely made of frozen ammonia, while the middle layer is made of ammonium hydrosulfide crystals. The innermost layer is probably made of ice and vapor.[3]

15. If you weighed 100 kg on Earth, you would weigh around 235.7 kg on Jupiter.

Weight is the measurement of how much gravity acts on an object. As different planets produce different amounts of gravity, an object’s weight will vary depending upon which planet it is located on.

Jupiter’s gravity is 76 ft/s (23.1 m/s) , which is 133% higher than the gravity on Earth 32 ft/s(9.8 m/s2). Thus, if you were to weigh 220 lbs (100 kg) on Earth, you would weigh 520 lbs (235.7 kg) on Jupiter.

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