Jupiter

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Jupiter and its moon Ganymede.

Jupiter

 

483,880,000 miles from the sun.

Its year is 11.86 (basically 12) Earth years long.

Its day is (incredibly) 9 hours 55 minutes 30 seconds.

Its diameter is 88,736 miles across.

Its atmosphere is 89% hydrogen and 11% helium.

Its temperature is -200 degrees Fahrenheit in the upper atmosphere

and +120 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower atmosphere and at its storm centers

Jupiter is the largest of our known planets in our solar system.  It is made up of Hydrogen and helium, a very flammable combination.  A planet this size has so much mass crushing in on itself, it begins to be gaseous.   Its ground is thinner than Earth's water.  Jupiter emits 67% more heat than the sun provides to it.  This means it has its own heat source.  The heat is believed to be from when it was first created; or possibly, due to its large size a low level nuclear reaction is occurring, much like our sun.  If Jupiter was a little bigger, it could become a brown dwarf star and its moons would become planets.   Cool... 

Jupiter has 17 known moons and these numbers are always changing.  One of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede, is 3275 miles in diameter which makes it bigger than Mercury by 242.6 miles.  Ganymede is our solar system's largest satellite.  Could this be an official 9th planet, again. 

A couple other special features of Jupiter are its Great Red Spot, Comet Impacts, and environment.  The Great Red Spot is an enormous storm 16,000 miles across.  Two Earth's could fit in it.  It completes a rotation once every 6 Earth days and has been around a long time.  The winds are estimated at 225 miles per hour.  Some winds on Jupiter are estimated at 250 miles per hour.  In July 16-22, 1994 a series of Comets, Shoemaker-Levy 9, struck Jupiter.  The resulting explosions were bigger than Earth. (See Comets).  Marks of impact can still be seen on Jupiter's surface.  Jupiter also has lightning like Earth's.

 

Jupiter and two of its moons.

Jupiter has rings.

 

Jupiter's Sun Spot (a storm)

Jupiter's Moons System