Jupiter is an enormous planet. In fact, it is scientifically referred to as a gas giant. A lot of people will already know that Jupiter is massive, but some of these other interesting facts about Jupiter might surprise you:
Jupiter has an Equatorial diameter of 142,900 km and a Polar diameter of 133,700 km. It has a mass of 1.90 x 1027 kg. To put these figures into context, Jupiter’s mass is worth the mass of 318 Earths. Even if you put all the other planets in the solar system together, Jupiter would still be 2.5 times larger.
If Jupiter’s mass grew, the planet would actually get smaller as the increased density caused it to pull inward.
People call it a failed star. It has hydrogen and helium like other stars but it can’t trigger the fusion at its core required to become a star. It lacks the mass. If Jupiter became 80 times more massive, it would become a star.
It has a strong magnetic field that is roughly 14 times that of the Earth. This is the strongest magnetic field in the solar system.
As mentioned above, Jupiter’s atmosphere is hydrogen (90%) and helium (10%). It is similar to the Sun in this manner but not as massive. On the inside, the planet has a rocky core (with a mass 12–45 times that of our planet) surrounded by electrically conductive liquid hydrogen, and a layer of ordinary hydrogen with some helium above that. The liquid hydrogen is responsible for the planet’s powerful magnetic field.
Jupiter has a massive storm that has raged for at least three and a half centuries. They call it the Great Red Spot and three Earths could fit in it. That is how wide it is. But the storm is getting smaller.
The surface temperature is -108 degrees Celsius. But the core is estimated to reach 43,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If that is true, the planet’s core is hotter than the Sun’s surface
Jupiter completes a rotation on its axis every ten hours. At 12.6 km/s, it is a really rapid rotation that gives it an oblate shape (slightly flattened at the poles but bulging at the equator).
Jupiter has rings that reach 225,000 km from the planet. They are very faint, which is why so many people do not realise that they exist. They consist of dust particles.
It takes Jupiter 11 Earth years to orbit the Sun.
There are over 200 natural satellites orbiting Jupiter; 79 are moons. Ganymede, which is 5,200 km in diameter, is the largest moon in the solar system.
Historical Jupiter facts!
The Babylonians discovered this planet as early as the 7th Century BC.
It was named after Jupiter, king of the gods in Roman mythology.
Galileo discovered Jupiter’s largest moons (Ganymede, Io, Callisto, and Europa) in 1610. This proved to him and the world that celestial bodies could orbit something other than the Earth.
The first spacecraft to visit Jupiter was NASA’s Pioneer 10 in 1973. Since then, the planet has been visited 7 more times.
Bonus Jupiter fact!
Jupiter is the second brightest planet, only losing out to Venus. If you include the Sun and the Moon, it is the 4th brightest object in the night sky and can be seen with the naked eye.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Jupiter that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!