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  1. Introduction
  2. Size, mass and orbit
  3. Composition and surface
  4. Moons of Jupiter
  5. Atmosphere and temperature
  6. Study history

Jupiter fascinated observers 400 years ago, when it was seen through the first telescopes. It is a beautiful gas giant with swirling clouds, a mysterious spot, a family of satellites and many features.

Most impressive is its scale. In terms of mass, volume and area, the planet occupies an honorable first place in the solar system. Even ancient people knew about its existence, so Jupiter was noted in many cultures.

Interesting facts about the planet Jupiter

Planet Jupiter

  • In terms of brightness, the planet is ahead of the Sun, Moon and Venus. One of the five planets that can be found without the use of tools.

  • The mention of Jupiter dates back to the 7th-8th centuries. BC. Received a name in honor of the supreme deity in the pantheon (from the Greeks – Zeus). In Mesopotamia it was Marduk, and among the Germanic tribes it was Thor.

  • Performs an axial rotation in just 9 hours and 55 minutes. Due to the rapid rotation, flattening occurs at the poles and the expansion of the equatorial line.

  • From the perspective of terrestrial observation, its movement seems incredibly slow.

  • The upper atmospheric layer is divided into cloud belts and zones. Represented by crystals of ammonia, sulfur and their mixtures.

  • The pictures capture the Great Red Spot – a large-scale storm that has not stopped for 350 years. It is so huge that it can swallow three Earths.

  • Under the atmospheric layer are layers of gaseous and liquid hydrogen, as well as a core of ice, stone and metals.

  • Among the satellites, the largest are Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. The first one in diameter covers 5268 km, which is larger than Mercury.

  • The rings are thin and are represented by dust particles ejected by moons during collisions with comets or asteroids. They start at a distance of 92,000 km and extend to 225,000 km from Jupiter. Thickness – 2000-12500 km.

  • These are Pioneers 10 and 11, Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, Willis and New Horizons. Future ones can focus on satellites.

Size, mass and orbit

Weight – 1.8981 x 1027 kg, volume – 1.43128 x 10fifteen km3, surface area – 6.1419 x 1010 km2and the average circumference reaches 4.39264 x 10five km. So that you understand, the planet is 11 times larger in diameter than ours and 2.5 times more massive than all the solar planets.

Physical characteristics of Jupiter

Polar compression 0.06487


71 492 km
Polar radius 66 854 km
Average radius 69 911 km
Surface area 6.22 1010 km²
Volume 1.43 10fifteen km³
Weight 1.89 1027 Kg
Medium density 1.33 g / cm³
Accelerating free

falls at the equator

24.79 m / s²
Second space speed 59.5 km / s
Equatorial speed


45 300 km / h
Rotation period 9,925 hours
Axis tilt 3.13 °
Right ascension

north pole

17 h 52 min 14 s
268.057 °
Declination of the north pole 64.496 °
Albedo 0.343 (Bond)
0.52 (geom.albedo)

It is a gas giant, so its density is 1.326 g / cm3 (less than ¼ terrestrial). Low density is a clue to researchers that the object is represented by gases, but there is still an ongoing debate about the composition of the core.

The planet is distant from the Sun by an average of 778,299,000 km, but this distance can vary from 740,550,000 km to 816,040,000 km. It takes 11.8618 years to pass the orbital path, that is, one year lasts 4332.59 days.

Orbit and rotation of Jupiter

Perihelion 7.405 10eight km
(4.950 a.u.)
Aphelion 8.165 10eight km
(5.458 a.u.)
Semi-major axis 7,785 10eight km
(5.204 a.u.)


Sidereal period


4332,589 days
Synodic period


398.88 days
Orbital speed 13.07 km / s (average)
Mood 1.03 ° (relative to the ecliptic)
Ascending node longitude 100.556 °
Pericenter argument 275.066 °
Satellites 79

But Jupiter has one of the fastest axial rotations – 9 hours, 55 minutes and 30 seconds. Because of this, on sunny days, the year takes 10475.8.

Composition and surface

It is represented by a gaseous and liquid substance. It is the largest of the gas giants, divided into an outer atmospheric layer and an inner space. The atmosphere is represented by hydrogen (88-92%) and helium (8-12%).

Internal structure of Jupiter

Internal structure of Jupiter

Traces of methane, water vapor, silicon, ammonia and benzene are also noticeable. Small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, carbon, neon, ethane, oxygen, sulfur and phosphine can be found.

The inner part contains dense materials, therefore it consists of hydrogen (71%), helium (24%) and other elements (5%). The core is a dense mixture of metallic hydrogen in a liquid state with helium and an outer layer of molecular hydrogen. It is believed that the core may be rocky, but there is no exact data.

They started talking about the presence of a nucleus in 1997, when they calculated gravity. Data hinted that it could reach 12-45 Earth masses and cover 4-14% of Jupiter’s mass. The presence of the core is also supported by planetary models, which say the planets needed a rocky or ice core. But convection currents, as well as incandescent liquid hydrogen, could reduce the size of the core.

The closer to the core, the higher the temperature and pressure. It is believed that on the surface we will mark 67 ° C and 10 bar, in the phase transition – 9700 ° C and 200 GPa, and near the core – 35700 ° C and 3000-4500 GPa.


We now know that there is a family of 79 satellites near the planet (for 2019). Four of them are the largest and are called Galilean because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei: Io (solid active volcanoes), Europa (massive subsurface ocean), Ganymede (largest satellite in the system) and Callisto (underground ocean and old surface materials).

Surface of Jupiter's four main moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto

Surface of Jupiter’s four main moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto

There is also the Amalthea group, where there are 4 satellites with a diameter of less than 200 km. They are 200,000 km away and have an orbital tilt of 0.5 degrees. These are Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea and Thebes.

There is also a whole bunch of irregular moons that are smaller in size and have more eccentric orbital passages. They are divided into families that converge in size, composition, and orbit.

Atmosphere and temperature

You can see the familiar auroras at the north and south poles. But on Jupiter, their intensity is much higher, and they rarely stop. This magnificent show is shaped by the powerful radiation, magnetic field and eruptions of Io’s volcanoes.

Jupiter's atmosphere structure

Jupiter’s atmosphere structure

The amazing weather conditions are also noted. The wind accelerates to 100 m / s and is capable of accelerating to 620 km / h. In just a few hours, a large-scale storm can appear, covering thousands of kilometers in diameter. The Great Red Spot was discovered as early as the 1600s and continues to function but is shrinking.

The planet is hidden behind clouds of ammonia and ammonium hydrogen sulfate. They occupy a position in the tropopause, and these areas are called tropical regions. The layer is capable of extending 50 km. There may be a layer of water clouds, which is hinted at by lightning flashes, which are 1000 times more powerful than ours.

Study history

Because of its scale, the planet could be found in the sky without instruments, so they knew about the existence for a long time. The first mentions appeared in Babylon in the 7-8th century BC. Ptolemy in the 2nd century created his geocentric model, where he deduced an orbital period around us – 4332.38 days. This model was used in 499 by the mathematician Aryabhata, and received a result of 4332.2722 days.

In 1610, Galileo Galilei used his instrument and was able to see the gas giant for the first time. Near him, I noticed 4 largest satellites. This was an important point as it supported the heliocentric model.

Galileo points to the sky in Venice

Galileo points to the sky in Venice

A new telescope in the 1660s. used by Cassini, who wanted to study spots and bright stripes on the planet. He found that in front of us was a flattened spheroid. In 1690, he was able to determine the rotation period and differential rotation of the atmosphere. Details of the Great Red Spot were first depicted by Heinrich Schwabe in 1831.

In 1892, the fifth moon was observed by E.E. Bernard. It was Almatea, which was the last satellite to be discovered in the visual survey. The absorption bands of ammonia and methane were studied by Rupert Wildt in 1932, and in 1938 he tracked three long “white ovals”. For many years they remained separate formations, but in 1998 two merged into a single object, and in 2000 absorbed the third.

The radio telescopic survey started in the 1950s. The first signals were picked up in 1955. These were bursts of radio waves corresponding to planetary rotation, which made it possible to calculate the speed.

Infrared image of Jupiter by SOFIA

Infrared image of Jupiter by SOFIA

Later, researchers were able to deduce three types of signals: decametric, decimeter and thermal radiation. The former change with rotation and are based on Io’s contact with the planetary magnetic field. Decimeter ones appear from the toroidal equatorial belt and are created by cyclonic radiation of electrons. But the latter is formed by atmospheric heat.

Surface map

Jupiter surface map

Click on the image to enlarge it

Read also:

  • Interesting facts about Jupiter;
  • Is there life on Jupiter;
  • How Jupiter was formed;
  • Jupiter and Mercury;
  • Jupiter and Venus;
  • Terraforming Jupiter’s moons
  • How did Jupiter get its name?
  • Jupiter: Friend or Foe?
  • Is Jupiter our silent protector?

Jupiter’s position and movement

  • Jupiter’s orbit;
  • Jupiter’s rotation
  • Distance to Jupiter;
  • Distance from Sun to Jupiter;
  • How long to fly to Jupiter;

Jupiter structure

  • Jupiter diameter;
  • Great Red Spot
  • Dimensions of Jupiter;
  • How many planets Earth will fit in Jupiter?
  • Jupiter’s composition;
  • Jupiter’s core
  • Does Jupiter have a solid core?
  • Why does Jupiter have a Great Red Spot?
  • Jupiter mass;
  • A year on Jupiter;
  • A day on Jupiter;
  • How many rings does Jupiter have?

Jupiter surface

  • Jupiter surface;
  • Jupiter color;
  • Jupiter’s atmosphere;
  • Weather on Jupiter;
  • Water on Jupiter;
  • Temperature on Jupiter;

Planets Solar system
Dwarf planets Pluto Ceres Haumea Makemake Eris
Terrestrial planets Mercury Venus Earth Mars
Gas giants Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune

solar system

The composition of the Jupiter system

Planet Jupiter

Moons of Jupiter

Jupiter’s rings

Jupiter exploration

Photos of Jupiter

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