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In Roman mythology they called Jupiter the king of gods. Jupiter is the largest of the planets in the solar system. In ancient Greek times they named Jupiter after Zeus. In 1610 Galileo discovered the four moons of Jupiter named Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto which we now call the Galilean moons.


Jupiter is a massive gas giant planet and it’s more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined. It is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in the Solar System. If it was 80 times more massive it would actually be a star and not a planet. The atmosphere of the planet resembles that of the sun and this is mostly helium and hydrogen. If you put the Earth in Jupiter it would hold 1,300 of them.

jupiterThe bands that go around Jupiter are crested by winds that travel about 400 miles per hour and the white clouds are crystals of ammonia while the darker clouds are other chemicals. The Great red Spot is the most striking feature of Jupiter and this is a hurricane style storm that has been going on for about 300 years. This spot is about 3 times the diameter of the Earth at the widest point. The color of the storm may be from phosphorus or sulfur. From time to time the spot will disappear but then reappear again. The magnetic field of Jupiter is nearly 20,000 times that of the Earth and the strongest in the solar system.

jupiter_compared-to_the_sun_and_earthJupiter also spins faster than any other planet and it only takes about 10 hours for it to spin on its axis. The planet bulges at the equator and that it flattens at the poles so it’s about 7 percent wider at the equator than the poles. Jupiter puts out radio waves which we can detect on Earth. The mass of Jupiter may also help protect earth from meteorite impacts as they are swallowed up by Jupiter and its enormous mass.


• 89.8 percent molecular hydrogen
• 10.2 percent helium
• Minor amounts of methane, ammonia, hydrogen deuteride, ethane, ammonia ice aerosols, water ice aerosols, water, ammonia hydrosulfide aerosols

The core is dense and the composition of this core is unknown. There’s a helium-rich layer with fluid metallic hydrogen which is wrapped up in the atmosphere which is mainly molecular hydrogen. There’s an amazing 63 moons around Jupiter. The entire planet is gas and liquid.


Distance from Sun: 483,682,810 miles
Radius: 43,441 miles (69,911 km)
Mass: 1.898E27 kg (317.8 Earth mass)
Surface area: 23.71 billion sq miles (61.42 billion km²)
Gravity: 24.79 m/s²
Orbits: Sun
Moons: Europa, Io, Ganymede, Callisto, Amalthea, Metis, Elara, Thebe, Ananke, Kale, Leda, Carme, Adrastea, Himalia, Arche, Sinope, Aitne, Carpo, Pasiphae, Iocaste, Lysithea, Helike, Sponde, Kore, Herse, Euporie, Thyone, Themisto, Cyllene, Mneme, Isonoe, Hegemone, Aoede, Kalyke, Callirrhoe, Pasithee, Hermippe, Taygete, Harpalyke, Praxidike, Chaldene, Thelxinoe, Orthosie, Autonoe, Megaclite, Erinome, Eurydome, Eukelade, S/2003 J 15, Euanthe and some smaller ones.

Possible Life

The moon of Europa may hold liquid oceans under its surface and there may be oceans under the crusts of the moons Callisto and Ganymede. The presence of water is needed for life to exist although it’s very difficult to tell if lie exists or has existed on the moons of Jupiter. There’s no belief that any sort of life exists Jupiter itself although there’s no way of knowing this for sure. If there was life would be some sort of airborne life and could only exist at a certain depth. The moons of Jupiter is where life would be found, if any is there at all.

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