Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Its famous ‘Red Spot’ and raging gas storms give it an impressive if not intimidating appearance. As well as having many moons, Jupiter also has a number of rings similar to that of Saturn but much less noticeable. The interior of Jupiter is believed to consist of three regions. The first is a rocky core composed of various elements with a mass between 12 and 45 times that of the entire Earth. The core is surrounded by the second region, a layer of electrically conductive liquid hydrogen.
Jupiter, known as Zeus in Greek mythology, over threw his father Saturn to become king of the gods. He then split the universe with his brothers Neptune and Pluto.
It is due to this layer, which comprises most of the planet’s mass, that Jupiter has such a strong magnetic field. The third region consists of ordinary hydrogen with traces of helium, which transitions into the planet’s atmosphere.Jupiter is a very stormy planet. There are storms found throughout the atmosphere, and most of the storms seem to never end. The many different cloud formations and storms in the atmosphere also make Jupiter a very colorful planet.Jupiter’s great red spot, visible in the picture above to the right, is where a giant storm has been raging for at least 300 years. This red spot is also called “The Eye of Jupiter” because of its shape. This storm’s super hurricane winds blow across an area larger than the Earth.
Did you know Jupiter has rings? They are faint and are only able to be viewed when Jupiter passes in front of the Sun. This is because the light from the Sun lights them up for us to see here on Earth. There are three rings in all. They are named Gossamer, Main and Halo.
Jupiter has the shortest day of the eight planets. The planet rotates very Jupiter rotates very quickly, turning on its axis once every 9 hours and 55 minutes. This rapid rotation is also what causes the flattening effect of the planet, which is why it has an oblate shape.
Jupiter has a faint ring system around it. Its ring is mostly comprised of dust particles from some of Jupiter’s moons during impacts from comets and asteroids. The ring system begins about 92,000 km above Jupiter’s clouds and reaches more than 225,000 km from the planet. The rings are somewhere between 2,000-12,500 km thick.
Jupiter has a very strong magnetic field. This is around 14 times stronger than the magnetic field found on Earth – the largest of any planet in the solar system.
If you were to descend into Jupiter, the thin, cold atmosphere becomes thicker and hotter, gradually turning into a thick, dark fog. In the blackness about 1000km down the pressure squeezes the atmosphere so hard that it becomes like liquid.
At the centre of Jupiter is a rocky core, slightly bigger than Earth but weighing about 20 times more. Surrounding the core is an ocean of liquid hydrogen, about 1,000 kilometers deep. Jupiter has many storms raging on the surface, most notably the big red spot which is the largest hurricane in our Solar System. It’s been raging for over three hundred years.
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