Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System.
It is a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter has been known to astronomers since antiquity. The Romans named it after their god Jupiter. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can be bright enough for its reflected light to cast shadows, and is on average the third-brightest natural object in the night sky after Venus and Moon.
Here are ten fun facts about Jupiter:
1. Jupiter is huge! It’s diameter is almost 11 times that of Earth, making it more than twice as large as all of the other planets in our solar system combined!
2. Despite being so large, Jupiter rotates very quickly on its axis – once every 10 hours! This rapid rotation flattens out its shape slightly at the poles, giving it an oblate appearance.
3. One day on Jupiter lasts only 9 hours and 56 minutes!
4. Although often referred to as a ‘gas giant’, most of Jupiter’s interior is actually liquid hydrogen and helium under immense pressure.
5. At Jupiters core temperatures may reach up to 32700K°C!
6. Surrounding the hot core is a layer of dense metallic hydrogen which makes up around 15% of Jupiter’s total mass. Above this lies several layers of gaseous hydrogen and helium.
7. There is an outermost layer made up mostly of ammonia clouds
8. The ammonia layers give Jupiter its distinctive striped appearance when seen through a telescope.
9. Juno, NASA’s spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter, will help us unlock many mysteries about this fascinating planet.
10. We still don’t know exactly how deep those red spots go.