I am an editor and author at ‘The Secrets of the Universe’. I did my Ph.D. from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar in the field of theoretical plasma physics where I studied waves and nonlinear structures in space and astrophysical plasmas. I am now going to join a prestigious national lab in the USA for a postdoc.
We live on planet Earth which is a part of our solar system that falls in the Milky Way galaxy. But as we all know that Earth is not the only component or planet of our solar system. In fact, we are accompanied by seven planets and a dwarf planet who together go around the Sun in circular paths under the influence of gravity. Today, I am going to tell you some amazing facts about Jupiter which is the largest planet in our solar system.
Jupiter is named after the Roman king of Gods. It is the largest planet of our solar system both in mass as well as size. However, it is completely inhabitable due to being a gas giant. This means that Jupiter is made up of gases and probably does not even possess a solid surface. Even after not being able to support life, still scientists are much interested to know about this giant planet while hoping to unravel the actual theory of formation of the solar system. In this article, I am going to share with you some facts about Jupiter that I find amazing and I hope that you would too.
1 . Fourth brightest object in the solar system
Jupiter is the fourth brightest body of the solar system that can be observed from Earth. Objects brighter than Jupiter are the Sun, the Moon and planet Venus. It is very likely that the brightest star-like object that we see in the night sky from Earth might be Jupiter.
2. Most Massive
Jupiter has the largest mass among all planets of our solar system. It is 318 times more massive than the Earth. Approximately 1300 Earths can fit inside it. In fact, its mass is twice the combined mass of all remaining planets in our solar system.
3. Jupiter has the shortest day of all planets
Jupiter rotates with a velocity of 12.6 km/s or 45,300 km/h. This means that Jupiter takes only about 10 hours to complete a full rotation on its axis. Due to its rapid spinning, this planet has flattened out at the poles a little and is bulging at its equator.
4. The Great Red Spot is a huge storm on Jupiter
Spotted in the 17th century, the great red spot on Jupiter is actually a giant anticyclonic storm on Jupiter. It has been there for more than 350 years. However, its size has shrunk to one half of that when it was first detected. It is so big that 3 Earths can fit inside it.
5. Jupiter has rings
One of the most interesting facts about Jupiter is that it has rings. However, Jupiter's rings are faint and are composed of mainly dust particles. Jupiter's rings contain three major segments- an inner torus of particles known as the halo, a relatively bright main ring, and an outer gossamer ring.
6. Jupiter has the Largest moon in the Solar system
Jupiter proudly owns the title of being a planet with the largest number of moons in the solar system with a total of 79 confirmed moons. Ganymede is Jupiter’s largest moon and also the largest moon in the solar system. Ganymede was discovered in 1610 by astronomer Galileo Galilei. It is even bigger than the planet Mercury.
7. nine spacecrafts have visited Jupiter
Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, Ulysses, and New Horizons missions are the eighth spacecraft that visited Jupiter. Juno is the ninth spacecraft to visit Jupiter most recently in 2016. Find here the List of missions to the outer planets.
8. Jupiter has unique cloud features
The upper atmosphere of Jupiter is divided into cloud belts and zones. The outer clouds of Jupiter are made primarily of ammonia crystals, sulfur, and mixtures of the two compounds. So, if we could smell these clouds, they would stink.