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Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Jupiter's appearance is tapestry of colorful cloud bands and spots. The gas planet likely has three distinct cloud layers in its "skies" that, taken together, span about 44 miles (71 kilometers). The top cloud is probably made of ammonia ice, while the middle layer is likely made of ammonium hydrosulfide crystals. The innermost layer may be made of water ice and vapor.

The vivid colors you see in thick bands across Jupiter may be plumes of sulfur and phosphorus-containing gases rising from the planet's warmer interior. Jupiter's fast rotation—spinning once every 10 hours—creates strong jet streams, separating its clouds into dark belts and bright zones across long stretches.

With no solid surface to slow them down, Jupiter's spots can persist for many years. Stormy Jupiter is swept by over a dozen prevailing winds, some reaching up to 335 miles per hour (539 kilometers per hour) at the equator. The Great Red Spot, a swirling oval of clouds twice as wide as Earth, has been observed on the giant planet for more than 300 years. More recently, three smaller ovals merged to form the Little Red Spot, about half the size of its larger cousin. Scientists do not yet know if these ovals and planet-circling bands are shallow or deeply rooted to the interior.

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Rings

Rings

Discoverd in 1979 by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, Jupiter's rings were a surprise, as they are composed of small, dark particles and are difficult to see except when backlit by the Sun. Data from the Galileo spacecraft indicate that Jupiter's ring system may be formed by dust kicked up as interpl...

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Potential for life

Potential for life

Jupiter's environment is probably not conducive to life as we know it. The temperatures, pressures and materials that characterize this planet are most likely too extreme and volatile for organisms to adapt to.

While planet Jupiter is an unlikely place for living things to take hold, the sa...

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Surface

Surface

 As a gas giant, Jupiter doesn't have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling gases and liquids. While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Jupiter, it wouldn’t be able to fly through unscathed either. 

The extreme pressures and temperatures deep inside the planet crush, melt an...

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Formation

Formation

Jupiter took shape when the rest of the solar system formed about 4,5 billion years ago, when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become this gas giant. 

Jupiter took most of the mass left over after the formation of the Sun, ending up with more than twice the combined material of th...

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Exploration

Exploration

Nine spacecrafts have studied jupiter up close. NASA'S Juno spacecraft is currently studying the gas giant planet from orbit 

The spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter in July 2016, is the first to study the planet's mysterious, cloud-shrouded interior. Scientists also use the Earth-orbiting...

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78 reads

Structure

Structure

The composition of jupiter is similar to that of the Sun - mostly hydrogen and helium. Deep in the atmosphere, pressure and temperature increase, compressing the hydrogen gas into a liquid. 

This gives Jupiter the largest ocean in the solar system—an ocean made of hydrogen instead of water....

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Magnetoshpere

Magnetoshpere

The jovian magnetoshpere is the region of space influenced by Jupiter's powerful magnetic field. It balloons 600,000 to 2 million miles (1 to 3 million kilometers) toward the Sun (seven to 21 times the diameter or Jupiter itself) and tapers into a tadpole-shaped tail extending more than 600 milli...

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Size and distance

Size and distance

With a radius of 43,440.7 miles (69,911 kilometers), Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Jupiter would be about as big as a basketball.

From an average distance of 484 million miles (778 million kilometers), Jupiter is 5.2 astronomical units away from t...

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Jupiter

Jupiter

Jupiter is our fith planet from our Sun and is by far, the largest planet in the solar system - more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined. Jupiter's stripes and swirls are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Jupite...

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Moons

Moons

With four large moons and many smallersm moons, Jupiter forms a kind of miniature solar system. Jupiter has 53 confirmed moons and 26 provisional moons awaiting confirmation of discovery. Moons are named after they are confirmed.

Jupiter's four largest moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callist...

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Orbit and rotation

Orbit and rotation

Jupiter has the shortest day in the solar system. One day on Jupiter takes only about 10 hours (the time it takes for Jupiter to rotate or spin around once), and Jupiter makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Jovian time) in about 12 Earth years (4,333 Earth days).

Its equator is ...

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Quick facts

Quick facts

  • Day: 9,93 hours
  • Year: 11.86 Earth years
  • Radius: 88,846 miles / 142,984 kilometers
  • Planet type: Gas giant
  • Temperature: -160 degrees Fahrenheit (-110 degrees Celsius)

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Exploration

Exploration

Nine spacecrafts have studied jupiter up close. NASA'S Juno spacecraft is currently studying the gas giant planet from orbit 

The spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter in July 2016, is the first to study the planet's mysterious, cloud-shrouded interior. Scientists also use the Earth-orbiting...

Pioneer

Pioneer

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973. They were the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter and Saturn in a one-way voyage.

  • Pioneer 10 traveled through the solar system's asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • A year-and-a-half after it's laun...

Structure

Venus is in many ways similar to earth in its structure. 

It has an iron core that is approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) in radius. Above that is a mantle made of hot rock slowly churning due to the planet's interior heat. 

The surface is a thin crust of rock that bulges and...

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