PLANET JUPITER: The Gas Giant in the Solar System


Last Updated: Sep 17, 2018

Planet Jupiter: The Gas Giant

Jupiter is the gas giant of the solar system.

In fact, if Jupiter was 50 times larger than it is, it would be a star.

We never expect life to exist on gas giants because they don’t have a surface and is mostly Hydrogen and Helium.

Jupiter has 4 large moons which were formed with rock and metal like terrestrial planets but also water, ammonia and methane.

Jupiter has weather

Jupiter is so large that it causes the Coriolis effect. The velocity at Jupiter’s equator is about 28,000 miles per hour.

This is the spinning that causes a large Coriolis effect. It has different bands of atmospheric circulation.

Because Jupiter’s size is so large, its velocity at the Equator is 45,000 km per hour.

Jupiter has an ever-lasting red spot on it. This is a storm/hurricane which has been there ever since observing it.

Jupiter is the largest planet

Jupiter is the largest at about 11 times wider that of Earth.

But volume is about 1000 times larger.

They got really large enough to hold onto abundant light gases like Hydrogen and Helium.

Its surface area is about 61.42 km2

Jupiter is has 79 moons

It’s believed that Jupiter has 79 moons.

Only 53 of the moons have names and 26 are awaiting for names.

There are 4 moons in particular that have interesting geology orbiting Jupiter.

These 4 moons are Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa

Io has sulfur giving it a yellow appearance

Io is most volcanic at surface in solar system constantly erupting.

You have tidal heating from Jupiter stretching and compressing creating molten rock.

The sulfur on Io makes it appear yellow. This would the smell on Io unbearable.

Life could possibly exist on Europa because it has liquid water

Europa is made of iron rock. It has salt water ocean beneath a thin frozen icy crust. Its water level is about 100 km thick and its ice layer is maybe about 10 to 30 km.

When the ice crust layer cracks, water fills the cracks. It’s the heat that drives this process from tidal forces of Jupiter.

Because Europa has liquid water at surface, it’s the only place in the solar system where life could possibly exist.

Ganymede is the largest planetary moon

Ganymede is so large that it’s the 9th largest object in our solar system.

It’s made of rock and mantle with an icy crust.

The crust on Ganymede is old. It has old impact craters with an induced magnetic field.

Callisto is the second largest planetary moon on Jupiter

Callisto is about size of Mercury.

It’s the second largest moon of Jupiter and is third largest moon in our solar system.

It’s composed of half rock and ice. It could have deep liquid ocean.

It doesn’t have significant tidal heating and is less affected by Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Other facts about Jupiter

Jupiter goes through one day in only 10 hours.

It has an orbital period of about 12 years.

The length of a day on Jupiter is 9 hours and 56 minutes.

The distance from the sun to Jupiter is about 778,500,000 km.

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