The fifth planet from the sun, Jupiter, is the biggest planet in our solar system. To put into perspective, it’s about 11 times the size of Earth and 317 times the mass of earth. It is massive to the extent where it would still be two and a half times larger even if all the planets in our solar system were to be combined. Primarily made up of gases this planet is widely known as the “gas planet”.
Sights of this massive planet were first recorded in the ancient Babylonians times but the planet was discovered, only, in 1610 by Galileo. Today, the advent of modern technology has made close encounters with Jupiter possible, uncovering the planet’s deepest secrets.
From the discovery of the new cyclone in its south pole to countless more in-depth discovery about this gas plant, there are fascinating facts about Jupiter that you might still be unaware of. Keeping that on the mind, we’ve compiled the 10 most interesting facts about Jupiter for you in this article.
Interesting facts about Jupiter
Here are the 10 mind-blowing facts about Jupiter:
1. Jupiter in is the fourth brightest planet
Jupiter is the fourth brightest planet after the sun, moon and Venus. It is, also, one of the five planets visible to our naked eyes.
2. Jupiter is Called a Failed star
Although it is primarily formed of hydrogen and helium and similar elements as the Sun, this planet is not massive enough to have the internal temperature and pressure required to cause hydrogen to fuse to helium, meaning it doesn’t have the energy source that powers other stars.
Jupiter has 0.1 per cent mass of the Sun so for it to become a star and ignite nuclear fusion process, it would require 71 times more its current mass. Thus, Jupiter is called a failed star.
3. The Fastest Spinning Planet
With its rotational velocity of 12.6 kilometres per second, it takes Jupiter 9 hours and 55 minutes to complete rotation around its own axis- making it the fastest spinning planet in our solar system.
The rapid rotation flattens its poles which gives the planet more of an oblate shape. And its rotation is, also, responsible for Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field and its dangerous radiation.
4. Jupiter has Faint Rings
When the term ring system is used, Saturn is naturally the planet that pops in your mind. Surprisingly, Jupiter is also one of the planets, besides Uranus, having a ring system of its own. However, it’s ring is lesser-known to us since it has a particularly faint ring system.
The ring system is believed to have formed by materials ejected by its moons when impacted by meteorites. When these bits of materials entered the orbit of Jupiter, they formed a ring system, instead of falling back, by getting influenced by Jupiter’s strong gravitational force.
5. Unique Cloud Features
Another interesting feature of Jupiter is its intriguing whirling clouds that are primarily composed of ammonia crystals, sulfur and mixture of two compounds. It has bands of dark and light clouds that are completely different and are named belts and zones, respectively.
The air inside the light areas, zones, circulates anti-cyclonically which gives them a board area of higher air pressure while the air inside the dark areas, belts, circulates cyclonically which allows us to see the compounds that give it its brownish colour.
6. Jupiter’s Red Spot
The great Great Red spot is an enormous storm that has raged for at least 350 years. It is approximately 10,159 mile wide which is large enough to enough fit Earth.
7. Jupiter’s Magnetic field is 16 times that of Earth
The region of space influenced by Jupiters extremely powerful magnetic field is called the Jovian magnetosphere which extends 600,000 to 2 million miles towards the Sun and 600 million miles behind Jupiter. The magnetic field, which rotates along with the planet, can be up to 54 times as powerful as Earth’s magnetic field.
Any charged particle near the planet is trapped by this enormous magnetic field and is accelerated into high energies that create intense radiation, which can even damage spacecraft. The magnetic field is responsible for the wondrous aurorae at the planet’s poles too.
8. Jupiter has more than 67 moons
Jupiter has 53 confirmed moons and 26 provisional moons that are yet to be confirmed. Its four largest moons namely the Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are some of the largest moons in our solar system. These four moons are collectively known as the Galilean moons.
9. The Largest Moon in the Solar System
One of the Galilean moons, Ganymede, is the largest moon in the solar system. Just like most planets, Galilean is named after a mythological figure- a young boy who worked as a cupbearer for the Greek god, Zeus.
The surface of Galilean is differentiated into three main layers. At the centre is the spherical core, made out of metallic iron then comes the mantle, a spherical shell made of rock, which surrounds the core and the outermost layer is a spherical shell that’s mostly made up of ice. Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.
10. No Seasonal Changes
Jupiter doesn’t experience seasonal changes at all unlike other planets such as Earth, Saturn and Mars. This is particularly because of its extremely small axial tilt of 3.17 degree.