Photos of the Sun

The planet Jupiter. Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn

The planet Jupiter. Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun, and the largest in the Solar System. It is the first of the so-called giants or exteriors. Jupiter is 1,400 times more bulky than Earth, but its mass is only 318 times that of our planet. The average density of Jupiter is a quarter of the density of the Earth, which indicates that it must be made up of gases rather than metals and rocks such as Earth and other inner planets.

Go around the Sun every 11.9 years at an average distance equivalent to about five times the distance from the Sun to Earth. It takes less than 10 hours to walk around its axis. This rapid rotation produces an equatorial thickening that can be seen through a telescope. The rotation is not uniform. The bands seen in Jupiter are due to strong currents. These bands are more appreciated due to the pastel hues of the clouds.

Jupiter has 16 confirmed satellites. Galileo discovered the four major ones: Io, Europe, Ganymede and Callisto. The average densities of the major moons follow the apparent tendency of the Solar System itself. Io and Europe, close to Jupiter, are dense and rocky like the inner planets. Ganymede and Callisto, which are more distant, are mainly composed of water ice and have lower densities.

During the formation of satellites and planets, their proximity to the central body (the Sun or Jupiter) clearly prevents condensation of the most volatile substances.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn