50 interesting facts about Jupiter

Jupiter

Jupiter is so huge that the Earth could sink into it easily. This gas planet is second in size to the Sun only, and its powerful gravity protects our planet from the comets and asteroids. Scientists are considering the possibility of establishing colonies on its moons, because it can be helpful in further explorations of the Solar System.

Amazing facts about Jupiter

  • Jupiter has more moons than any other planet in the Solar System other than Saturn, a whopping 79. Perhaps even more, but so far only so much has been discovered.
  • The gas planet consists of about 90% of hydrogen and 10% of helium, with an admixture of other gases.
  • No spacecraft can approach to Jupiter at close distance. The radiation belt of this planet can easily disable sensitive electrical appliances.
  • Jupiter is about 1,300 times larger than Earth in volume, 11 times larger in diameter, and 317 times larger in mass.
  • Our entire planet could be hidden in the Great Red spot, a stable atmospheric vortex on this gas giant that is the largest hurricane in the Solar System.
Facts about Jupiter
Comparison of the sizes of Jupiter and the Earth
  • The existence of life is not excluded in some layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere. There may well be some microorganisms, or even creatures that have adapted to a life in constant flight.
  • There is a theory that Jupiter has a solid core. If so, it is probably comparable to Earth in size.
  • There is no boundary between the atmosphere and the ocean of liquefied gas in the lower layers of Jupiter because of the tremendous pressure. As you descend into the gas planet bowels, the surrounding gas gradually thickens and flows into a liquid state.
  • There are often powerful storms and hurricanes here, and they are larger than any continent on Earth. But they usually last only a few days, unlike the Great Red spot existing for centuries.
  • The day on Jupiter is shorter than ours, here it lasts a little less than 10 hours. But the local year is long, about 11.8 standart years.
  • Jupiter’s moon Europa is covered with ice with an under which is the ocean. Based on calculations, there is much more water on Europa than on Earth.
  • The powerful gravity of the gas giant attracts lots of comets and asteroids rushing from the outer Solar System to the inner part of it. This is why Jupiter is often called the “shield of the Earth”: it really protects us.
  • It has rings just like Saturn does. But they aren’t really huge, so it is not easy to see them.
  • The average density of Jupiter is only 30% higher than that of water. But these are just numbers — the upper layers of its atmosphere are gaseous, and the pressure in the bowels is so high that the hydrogen is compressed and takes a metallized form.
  • Jupiter has polar lights. But on our planet this atmospheric phenomenon can only be observed during periods of high solar activity, and on the gas giant the Aurora is constant.
Jupiter moons
Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto
  • Io, another moon of Jupiter, is the most geologically active celestial body in the Solar System. Rivers of red-hot lava regularly flow along its surface, which is home to about 400 active volcanoes.
  • Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest one in the Solar System. Its diameter is 8% larger than that of the planet Mercury.
  • The mass of Jupiter giant is 2.5 times greater than the total mass of all the other planets in our system combined, including other gas giants.
  • If Jupiter were 12.5 times more massive, it would turn into a protostar (a brown dwarf), and our Solar System would become a double star. In order to become a real star, the gas giant would need to gain 80 times more mass.
  • According to scientists, the temperature in its bowels reaches 20,000 °K. It emits 60% more energy into space than it receives from the Sun.
Jupiter facts
Jupiter compared with Saturn, Neptune and Uranus
  • Jupiter rotates on its axis faster than any other planet in the Solar System. 
  • Jupiter is slightly flattened because of this rapid rotation, and its equatorial radius is 7% greater than the polar one.
  • A powerful source of pulsating x-ray radiation was discovered at the North pole of the gas giant in 2000. It pulsates at intervals of about 45 minutes, and this mystery has not yet been solved.
  • When our Sun turns into a red giant during its life cycle, the habitable zone of the star will reach the orbit of Jupiter and its moons. However, this will happen only in a few billion years.
  • According to scientists, the atmospheric pressure near the hypothetical solid core of Jupiter exceeds 1 million standard atmospheres.
  • The atmosphere of the Europa moon consists mainly of oxygen. But it is so sparse that it can only be detected by special devices.
  • There are some really high mountains on the Jovian moons. For example, Boösaule Montes on Io are almost twice that of mount Everest, the highest peak of the Earth.
  • The gas giant’s four Galilean moons — Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io — are much larger than all the others. They were named so because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei using a telescope.
  • Jupiter can be seen from the surface of the Earth with the naked eye under favorable conditions.
  • It emits powerful radiation into space. The radiation background near the gas giant is about 1000 times higher than the threshold that is fatal to humans.
Jupiter photo
Aurora at the North pole of Jupiter
  • Jupiter’s magnetic field is the strongest among the planets in the Solar System. It is about 20,000 times more powerful than Earth’s.
  • The diameter of this planet decreases by about 1 inch (2 cm) per year. The reduction is due to the loss of mass, which is caused by the fact that Jupiter radiates tremendous energy into space.
  • The origin of the energy emitted by it is still not fully explained. This is probably due to the gradual compression of the planet under the influence of its own gravity.
  • The Juno probe that explored Jupiter was protected from the gas giant’s radiation. The scientific equipment was located in a titanium container with walls 0.5 inch (1 cm) thick.
  • The mass of Jupiter is negligible compared to the mass of the Sun, but it is still sufficient for the gas giant to become the only planet in the Solar system whose common center of mass with the Sun together extends beyond the star itself sometimes.
Jupiter pole
South pole of Jupiter
  • Io, Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede have huge water reserves.
  • The only two spacecraft to leave the confines of our system, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, used Jupiter to gain speed. They have accelerated with the help of a gravitational maneuver near it powerfully enough to leave the vicinity of our star forever.
  • Jupiter is the most powerful source of radio radiation in the Solar system. The radio noise it creates affects even the antennas on the Earth.
  • Gas giants in other star systems that receive more heat from their stars and therefore are heated to extremely high temperatures are called Hot Jupiters.
  • The famous scientist Bodenheimer suggested in 1974 that in the past Jupiter was about twice as large, and also much hotter. This theory has not yet been neither confirmed nor disproved.
  • The diameter of most of Jupiter’s moons varies from 1 to 2.5 miles. Most of them are probably asteroids captured by Jovian gravity.
  • Lightnings happen the atmosphere of Jupiter too. At the same time, there is one pattern on our planet — the closer to the equator, the more lightning, and they are extremely rare at the poles. But on Jupiter it’s totally opposite.
  • The asteroid (637) Galilea was discovered exactly 300 years after Galileo Galilei discovered the four largest moons of this planet, and therefore it was named in honor of the great astronomer and this discovery.
  • Four of Jupiter’s largest moons are constantly faced the planet by the same side.
  • The surface of Europa moon is the smoothest in the Solar System. Europa is covered with ice, so craters and other irregularities are smoothed out fairly quickly.
Jupiter surface
Clouds of Jupiter
  • Ganymede is also supposed to have an ocean of liquid water. Although on Europa it probably covers the entire area between the core and the outer layer of ice, while on Ganymede it exists in separate layers at a depth of 60 to 250 miles (100 to 400 km) below the surface.
  • Themisto, another moon of Jupiter, was discovered in 1975, but then it was “lost”, because the first data received wasn’t enough to calculate its orbit. It was rediscovered in 2000 again. Another Jovian moon, Dia, was discovered in 2000, and also lost, after which it was re-found in 2012 only.
  • Despite the fact that the largest satellites of Jupiter were discovered by Galileo Galilei, they were named by the German astronomer Simon Markus who lived at the same time. Apparently, Marcus discovered the satellites six months or a year before Galileo, but he was late in publishing his discovery.
  • Two of the three largest moons of the Solar system’s planets orbit Jupiter. This is Ganymede and Callisto, first and third place respectively. The second place belongs to Titan, a moon of Saturn.
  • Organic substances were found on Callisto. Water in the form of ice also was found there.

You may also like...