Jupiter Largest Planet in the Solar System

Although I know I don’t need to repeat what the title already explained, but a planet as huge as Jupiter deserves to be described repeatedly as by far the largest planet in the entire solar system. The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter is two and half times as big as all the other planets combined. That is, at least in our solar system. It’s a great big, gas giant and together with its gassy relations, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, they are sometimes referred to as the Jovian planets. Jovian has since been given the honor of becoming the adjective form of Jupiter, the biggest gas giant of all.


This enormous planet was known by astronomers back in ancient times, and back then, it was associated with the mythology and religious beliefs of many cultures, one of them being the Romans. They named the planet after the Roman God, Jupiter, probably because of its tremendous size. Size must have represented power in their ancient Roman minds, but I can see why.


When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach a magnitude of 2.8, which means that makes it the third brightest object in the night sky, second only to the Moon and Venus, but at certain points in its orbit, Mars will briefly exceed Jupiter’s brightness, but no planet ever exceeds its massive size. Primarily made up of hydrogen with a bit of helium, it just might also have a rocky core of heavier elements under high pressure, which explains its reputation of being a big, gas giant. Because of its quick rotation, its shape is that of an oblate spheroid, which means it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator, like all gassy things do.

A planet perpetually covered with clouds, they’re composed of ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. They are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of different latitudes, as tropical regions and these are sub-divided into lighter hued zones with darker belts around them. They interact with conflicting circulation patterns which, of course, cause storms with a great deal of turbulence. The winds exceed 100 miles an hour and are common in zone jets, which have been observed to vary in width, color and intensity from year to year. Still, they remain sufficiently stable for scientists to identify their designations. The clouds always seem to be a bit thin and consist of at least two decks of clouds, a thicker lower deck and a thin and clearer layer. There might also be a layer of water clouds under the ammonia layers, since flashes of lightning have been detected in the atmosphere of Jupiter.

The orange and brown clouds around Jupiter are caused by upwelling compounds that change color when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun, but the exact make up remains unexplained. Scientists believe phosophorus, sulfer or possibly hydrocarbons are contained in these clouds.

Around the outer atmosphere, its visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, so photography shows this aspect of Jupiter through rings of coral color. A prominent part is the Great Red Spot, which is a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17the century, so please, never complain about a little rain.

All around the planet is a dim planetary ring system, and a powerful magnetosphere, along with at least 63 moons! Those moons include the four large moons called, “The Galilean Moons,” which of course, were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. The biggest moon of all is called, “Ganymede,” and it has a diameter greater than even Mercury.


Jupiter has been explored many times by robotic spacecraft and most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager missions called, “flybys,” due to the fact that all we can do is to send a robot to fly by a planet of that massive size. Later, it was explored again by the Galileo orbiter and the latest visit to Jupiter was the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft in 2007. A probe used the gravity from Jupiter to increase its speed and adjust its trajectory toward Pluto, due to the need to save a lot of years of traveling. They say that the future might explore the ice covered liquid ocean on the Jovian moon, Europa. Wow. Won’t that be an amazing day?


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