There are 8 planets in our solar system. These planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune. Pluto was the 9th planets, but a few years ago it was classified as a dwarf planet. The largest planet in the solar system is Jupiter. Jupiter is actually over 300 times larger than earth – and if Jupiter was a hollow shell – you could fit over 1,000 Earths inside of it.
Jupiter also has 63 moons which is the most in the solar system. Jupiter is also famous for the Great Red Spot which is visible on Jupiter. The Red Spot was created by a storm that has been happening for hundreds of years. Jupiter is an enormous planet – however life could never exist on Jupiter. The planet has too much gas, and the gravity force is way to high. Plus, the Sun sits so far away from Jupiter that the temperatures would too cold. After Jupiter, the next largest planet is Saturn. Saturn is extremely large, in fact Jupiter is only about 15% bigger than Saturn. However, the mass of Saturn is extremely smaller than Jupiter’s. Jupiter has a mass of over 3 times the size of Saturn.
Jupiter Planet Profile
- Mass: 1,898,130,000,000,000,000 billion kg (317.83 x Earth)
- Equatorial Diameter: 142,984 km
- Polar Diameter: 133,709 km
- Equatorial Circumference: 439,264 km
- Known Moons: 67
- Notable Moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, & Callisto more info
- Known Rings: 4
- Orbit Distance: 778,340,821 km (5.20 AU)
- Orbit Period: 4,332.82 Earth days (11.86 Earth years)
- Surface Temperature: -108°C
- First Record: 7th or 8th century BC
- Recorded By: Babylonian astronomers
Facts About Jupiter
1. Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the solar system:
Only the Sun, Moon and Venus are brighter. It is one of five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth.
2. The ancient Babylonians were the first to record their sightings of Jupiter:
This was around the 7th or 8th century BC. Jupiter is named after the king of the Roman gods. To the Greeks, it represented Zeus, the god of thunder. The Mesopotamians saw Jupiter as the god Marduk and patron of the city of Babylon. Germanic tribes saw this planet as Donar, or Thor.
3. Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets:
It turns on its axis once every 9 hours and 55 minutes. The rapid rotation flattens the planet slightly, giving it an oblate shape.
4. Jupiter orbits the Sun once every 11.8 Earth years:
From our point of view on Earth, it appears to move slowly in the sky, taking months to move from one constellation to another.
5. Jupiter has unique cloud features:
The upper atmosphere of Jupiter is divided into cloud belts and zones. They are made primarily of ammonia crystals, sulfur, and mixtures of the two compounds.
6. The Great Red Spot is a huge storm on Jupiter:
It has raged for at least 350 years. It is so large that three Earths could fit inside it.
7. Jupiter’s interior is made of rock, metal, and hydrogen compounds:
Below Jupiter’s massive atmosphere (which is made primarily of hydrogen), there are layers of compressed hydrogen gas, liquid metallic hydrogen, and a core of ice, rock, and metals.
8. Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system:
Jupiter’s moons are sometimes called the Jovian satellites, the largest of these are Ganymeade, Callisto Io and Europa. Ganymeade measures 5,268 km across, making it larger than the planet Mercury.
9. Jupiter has a thin ring system:
Its rings are composed mainly of dust particles ejected from some of Jupiter’s smaller worlds during impacts from incoming comets and asteroids. The ringsystem begins some 92,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops and stretches out to more than 225,000 km from the planet. They are between 2,000 to 12,500 kilometres thick.
10. Eight spacecraft have visited Jupiter:
Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, Ulysses, and New Horizons missions. The Juno mission is its way to Jupiter and will arrive in July 2016. Other future missions may focus on the Jovian moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and their subsurface oceans.