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Planet Overview - Jupiter

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Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and it is the fifth planet from the Sun. Since all the planets are named after gods, we have to tell you which one Jupiter is. Jupiter is from Roman mythology and is the equivalent to Zeus from Greek mythology.

Jupiter - What It's All About

Jupiter is a planet made mostly of gases. It is part of a group sometimes called the Jovian planets (gas giants). This planet has no solid surface. Jupiter is sometimes called a failed star because it is made up entirely of gases. It would, however, have to be much larger in size than it is today to be qualified as a star. Jupiter has about 60 moons but the four largest moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. The moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto were discovered using a telescope and are now called the Galilean moons. This was also the first observation of moons other than Earth's.

There is one feature of Jupiter that is very distinct. Jupiter has something called the Great Red Spot. While this feature looks something like a big ketchup smudge on the planet, it is actually a very, very big hurricane. The spot was first discovered by Cassini (an Italian astronomer) in 1665. That means the storm has lasted hundreds of years. Even from Earth, you can see the spot using a telescope. The storm is bigger than three Earths put together. Scary, huh?

Jupiter - Fun Facts

  • Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky.
  • Jupiter is 2.5 times bigger than all the planets combined.
  • This giant is 318 times the size of Earth.
  • If you weigh a hundred pounds on Earth, you would weigh 236 pounds on Jupiter.
  • A day on Jupiter is less than 11 hours.
  • It takes Jupiter about 12 Earth years to go around the Sun.
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