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Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and largest planet of the solar system.
Jupiter's orbit is beyond the asteroid belt about 484 million miles or 778 million kilometers from the sun. It orbits the sun every 12 years. In order from the sun it is the first of the Jovian planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). Each of these planets is a very large planet not as dense as Mars, Venus and Earth. They rotate quickly on their axis and have a thick atmosphere.
Jupiter has a diameter of 88,800 miles or 143,000 kilometers, more than 11 times that of the earth. Its mass is 318 times that of the earth and about 2 1/2 times the mass of all other planets combined.
The atmosphere of Jupiter is made up mostly of hydrogen, helium, methane, and ammonia. The atmosphere seems to have a number of light and dark bands parallel to its equator. It has a storm called the Great Red Spot. It is in the southern hemisphere. Also in the southern hemisphere are three large white ovals.
Jupiter has no solid rock surface. One theory is that there is a gradual transition from the outer ammonia clouds to a thick layer of frozen gases and finally to a liquid or solid hydrogen mantle. Beneath that Jupiter probably has a core of rocky material with a mass 10 - 15 times that of the earth. T
Jupiter's day is about 10 hours. This rotation causes a polar flattening. The temperature ranges from about -190 degrees Fahrenheit or -128 degrees Celsius for the visible surface of the atmosphere, to 9°F (-13°C) at lower cloud levels. Certain regions reach as high as 40°F (4°C) at still lower cloud levels near the equator. Jupiter gives off four times as much heat as it gets from the sun. This heat emission may contribute to a slow contraction of Jupiter.
Jupiter has strong radio emission. It is the strongest radio source in the sky. Jupiter has a huge magnetic field, This magnetosphere traps high levels of energetic particles.
There are sixteen moons that orbit Jupiter. The four largest- Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto were discovered by Galileo in 1610. Io (diameter: 2,255 miles or 3,630 kilometers, the closest to Jupiter of the four, has thirty active volcanoes. Europa (diameter: 1,960 miles or 3,130 kilometers smooth, reflecting surface is entirely covered with dark streaks. Ganymede (diameter: 3,268 miles or 5,262 kilometers, second most distant of the four and the largest moon in the solar system, has craters and rocky surfaces. Callisto (diameter: 3,000 miles or 4,800 kilometers, the most furthest away, has craters, but not the volcanic activity.
A second group is made up of the four innermost moons of Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, and Thebe. The final group consists of the eight moons with orbits outside that of Callisto: Leda , Himalia , Lysithea , Elara , Ananke , Carme , Pasiphae, and Sinope . All eight might be captured asteroids.
Jupiter has three rings - Halo, Main, and Gossamer but much smaller and fainter than Saturn's.
Planet Jupiter Videos
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