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Five Fun Facts about the Planet Jupiter: Question and Answer

Angela loves researching new facts, especially those about science and history. She feels that knowledge is essential in growth.

How Big Is the Biggest Planet? And What's with the Big Red Spot?

Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is our solar system's largest planet and was first studied by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Since then, we have learned much more about this massive planet. It is so large that it could fit one thousand Earths. If Earth were a nickel, Jupiter would be a basketball. Eleven earths can fit along the diameter of Jupiter.

If we were to look through a telescope, we would see a large red spot on Jupiter's surface, which is one of its massive, unpredictable thunderstorms that surround the planet. That red spot alone is twice as massive as our entire world. Only recently, a "dark spot" has also been found on Jupiter's North Pole, which is nearly as large as the red spot. Unlike the red spot, it was only recently discovered, where the red spot has been documented for over three hundred years.

If we were on a jumbo jet, it would take us two to three weeks to travel around Jupiter, whereas on Earth, it only takes us two days. It also revolves much more quickly than Earth, but its rotation around the sun is much slower, taking twelve Earth years to complete the travel. Due to its large mass, it produces a heavy gravitational pull, which means a hundred-pound woman would weigh two-hundred-sixty-four pounds on Jupiter's surface. So how big exactly is this planet, check out this table!

Size in Comparison to Earth per NASA

 JupiterEarth

Volume

1,431,281,810,739,360 km3 aproximately 1.5 X 10^15 km3

1,083,206,916,846 km3 approximately 1 X 10^12 km3

Mass

1,898,130,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg approximately 1. x 10^27 kg

5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg approximately 6 X 10^24

Circumference at Equator

439,264 km

40,030 km

Jupiter's Spot

Jupiters images often show a spot on the surface, which is actually a huricane taking place.

Jupiters images often show a spot on the surface, which is actually a huricane taking place.

What Is Jupiter's Atmosphere Made Of?

To the naked eye, Jupiter's atmosphere appears to be similar to that of Earth's, except the clouds are not white like ours are. They are multicolored because of the many different chemicals that lie in the atmosphere. The colors are a result of sulfur and phosphorus-containing gases that emerge from its warm interior.

The atmosphere is comprised mostly of hydrogen. Helium makes up 15 percent of the atmosphere, which is the second most plentiful chemical in Jupiter's atmosphere. Other gases found in the atmosphere include small amounts of ammonia, methane, acetylene, ethane, phosphine, and water vapor. The planet is made up of the same materials as a star, but it was not massive enough to ignite. It contains the largest ocean of any world, except instead of a sea of water, it is an ocean of hydrogen.

Unlike Earth, once you pass through the cloud layer, the planet becomes extremely hot. So hot, that we have not been able to see what Jupiter's terrain looks like. Whenever a probe has gotten close, we lose contact with it, which is mostly due to a considerable magnetic disruption Jupiter lets off; therefore, we know more about the atmosphere around Jupiter, not near the planet. Some believe that the probes that have passed through vaporized due to the extreme heat. The planet may be comprised of a mass of gasses rather than a solid mass.

Moons of Jupiter

How Many Moons Does Jupiter Have?

Jupiter has 53 confirmed moons and 14 provisional ones. Jupiter's four biggest moons are named Io, Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa, and Galileo was the first to identify them.

Io, pronounced eye-oh, is as big as our moon. During one probe's trip to Jupiter, the probe detected a very active volcano on the moon's surface.

The moon Callisto is much more pockmarked than the other moons, making it much duller than the rest.

Ganymede is the largest moon and is even more significant than the planet Mercury

Europa is a very arctic place made up of ice, containing many cracks along its surface. Due to the tremendous icy atmosphere, there is might be more ice on the surface of Europa than on our entire planet. Some believe that there is life on Europa due to its water content, which is why many scientists hope to explore it.

The discovery of these moons caused scientists to realize that the Earth was not the center of the universe, as previously believed. When they realized that these moons were circulating Jupiter, scientists realized that each planet had its own gravitational pull, which allowed them to realize that it was a possibility that the Earth was not the center.

Jupiter's Moon Europa

Why Does It Have the Shortest Days of All the Planets?

Being so large, one would assume the rotation would be slower than the Earth. In actuality, Jupiter rotates very rapidly. So quickly that one day here is equal to ten hours there. That means, if you were to stand on one spot of Jupiter, the sun would rise every ten hours. This is the shortest day of all the planets. Its fast rotation and its massive size cause it to behave like an outer space vacuum. Debris that flies loose in our universe finds its way to Jupiter.

Does It Really Protect Our Earth from Comets?

Many believe that if Jupiter did not exist, we would be hit by comets once every couple of years. There was proof of this in 1994 when the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter. If it had hit Earth, it would have been catastrophic, resulting in the end of entire continents. It may have also pushed us off our natural gravitational pull, putting an end to all civilization on Earth. When looking at Jupiter, the equator appears to be bulging out with a diameter of 142,984 km. The bulge is most likely a consequence of the fast rotation and the vacuum type pull.

Jupiter is just one of our many planets in our universe, yet it might be one of the most important, as it acts like a vacuum protecting the rest of the planets in our solar system.

Citations

  • Hubs, Greensleeves. “Astronomy; Wonders of the Solar System - Planets, Moons and the Sun.” HubPages, HubPages, 7 Nov. 2015, hubpages.com/education/Wonders-of-the-Solar-System-Greensleeves#img_url_4620638.
  • “Jupiter Facts.” Jupiter Facts - PlanetFacts.net, www.planetfacts.net/Jupiter-Facts.html.
  • "Solar System Exploration: By the Numbers." NASA. January 12, 2018. Accessed April 09, 2018. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/jupiter/by-the-numbers/.

© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz

Comments

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on May 23, 2012:

Your welcome. I love science! I am a geek like that.

ken blair on May 22, 2012:

I just learned something scientific! Science is an interesting topic to talk about. Thanks for sharing it here!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 21, 2012:

Thank you Goodlady! I'm glad to be on the same team as you.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 21, 2012:

wilderness, I actually had heard that as well. I wonder if it will someday become like a sun.

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on April 20, 2012:

Wow. What a great read. I know so very little about our amazing planets so this was a superb piece of information on fantastic Jupiter! So nicely written, thanks. And about the moons around it. Great way to start my new day as part of the team.

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on April 20, 2012:

I have Jupiter called a "failed sun" because of it's massive size and make up of mostly hydrogen. It's a truly fascinating planet, more so than the jewel of our system, Saturn.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 20, 2012:

Ahhh, you just taught me something! Thank you!

Sean Jankowski from Southern Oregon on April 19, 2012:

He is correct, in our solar system it is the largest Jovian or gas planet. Nice hub Angela_michelle. Can't wait to work with you since we are on the same team. :)

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 07, 2012:

Thank you for the correction, I will make sure to correct that. :)

scottcgruber from USA on April 07, 2012:

Good summary! One correction, though - Jupiter is not the biggest planet in the Milky Way, just in our solar system. Planets much larger than Jupiter have been discovered orbiting other stars.

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