Solar system

Planet Jupiter, an old gas giant

Planet Jupiter, an old gas giant

Jupiter It is the largest planet in the Solar System. It has almost two and a half times the matter of all the other planets together, and its volume is 1,317 times that of Earth.

Of the so-called outer planets or gas giants, Jupiter is the one that is closest to the Sun. That is why, and because of its enormous size, it is the one that we can see brighter in the night sky.

This huge planet gets its name from the Roman god Jupiter, the Zeus of Greek mythology. It has a composition similar to that of the Sun, formed by hydrogen, helium and small amounts of ammonia, methane, water vapor and other compounds.

Jupiter is also the oldest planet in the Solar System, even older than the Sun itself. Its solid nucleus formed when the solar nebula had not yet condensed into our star. The presence of that nucleus was key in the dynamics of accretion disk that ended up forming the sun.

Basic dataJupiterThe earth
Size: equatorial radius69,911 km.6,378 km.
Average distance to the Sun778,412,000 km.149,600,000 km.
Day: period of rotation on the axis 9.84 hours23.93 hours
Year: orbit around the Sun11.86 years1 year
Average surface temperature-121 º C15 º C
Surface gravity in the equator22.88 m / s29.78 m / s2

Its rotation is the fastest among all the planets in the Solar System. Jupiter's atmosphere is complex, with clouds and storms. That is why it shows stripes of different colors and some spots.

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is a storm greater than the diameter of the Terra located in the tropical latitudes of the southern hemisphere. It lasts for more than 300 years and causes winds of 500 km / h.

Jupiter has a faint ring system, invisible from Earth. It also has many satellites. Four of them were discovered by Galileo in 1610. It was the first time someone had observed the sky with a telescope.

The jupiter rings They are simpler than those of Saturn. They are formed by dust particles thrown into space when meteorites collide with the inner moons of the planet.

Both the rings and the moons of Jupiter move within a huge radiation globe trapped in the magnetosphere, the planet's magnetic field, which is the largest known structure in the Solar System.

This huge magnetic field, which only reaches between 3 and 7 million kilometers in the direction of the Sun, is projected in the opposite direction more than 750 million km., Until it reaches the orbit of Saturn.

Jupiter spreads more heat than it receives from the Sun. It generates that energy due to the friction of the fluids that form it when it moves, and because it shrinks about two centimeters a year. When it formed it was much hotter and had a diameter almost double the current one.

Various space missions have approached Jupiter. In 1973 the Pioner 10 probe flew over and, a year later, the Pioner 11. In 1979 Voyager 1 and 2 were responsible for further study; They discovered their volcanic activity and their ring system.

In 1995 the Galileo mission began a seven-year exploration and collected a lot of information about Jupiter and its satellites. Other probes have passed near the giant planet to use its gravity as an acceleration force and, in passing, obtain data. In 2000, the Cassini / Huygens probe made its way to Saturn and in 2007 the New Horizons to Pluto.

The Juno space probe It was put into orbit around the planet Jupiter in 2016 to study its auroras, its atmosphere and its magnetosphere. ESA and NASA agencies have projects underway to closely observe Jupiter and its Europe satellite. We'll be alert.

Discover more:
• The planet Jupiter according to Wikipedia
• News about Jupiter in El País
• Polar Aurora in Jupiter

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