Jupiter

Quick Facts

  • Age: 4.5 billion years old
  • Diameter: ~ 140,800 KM
  • Adjective used: Jovian
  • Pronunciation: JOO - Pi -tah
  • Alternate names: Earth's Protector
  • Jovian Day: ~ 9 hours 56 minutes
  • Jovian Year: ~ 11.9 Earth Years
  • Type of planet: Gas Giant
  • Distance from Sun: ~ 778 Million KM
  • Number of natural satellite: 79 (including Galilean moons)

Jupiter, the largest, most massive and eldest of all the planets present in our solar system, is the fifth planet in the line from our host star, Sun. Unlike first four planet to the Sun, Jupiter is a gas giant. Jupiter is primarily composed of Hydrogen and Helium.

Planet Jupiter is named after Roman mythological god of sky and thunder Jupiter. Jupiter was also considered as king of the Roman gods, and was also referred by the name Jove.

Jupiter is the fastest spinning or fastest rotating planet in the solar system, hence completing its day in just under 10 hours (precisely 9 hours 56 minutes). Because of Jupiter’s super-rapid rotation, Jupiter assumes the shape of an oblate spheroid or ellipsoid. The vertical stretch of the Jupiter is slightly noticeable at equator if observed through telescope.

Jupiter’s orbital period or Jovian year is about 12 Earth years long.

Jupiter has known 79 moons and it’s the planet with second highest number of known moons in the solar system after Saturn. Jupiter also features a faint ring system composed of dust, rocks and even moonlets that keep orbiting around it as one disc.

Jupiter is more than twice as massive as all the planets combined, and is about one thousandth the mass of Sun. Jupiter mass is equal to 318 times the mass of Earth, and has volume of about ~ 1,321 Earths.

Jupiter is a gas giant hence it lacks terrestrial surface like inner planets of the solar system. Though it lacks surface, scientists does believe that Jupiter have a solid inner core, likely to be as small as Earth in size.

Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to ever visit Jupiter in year 1973.

Is Jupiter failed star?

Some scientists and astronomers also refer Jupiter as a failed star. If the Jupiter was about 80 times more massive, it would have actually become a star instead of a planet. Hence, It is also referred as failed star.

Moons of Jupiter

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Curated by: Aakash Gautam