Ever since Galileo Galilei very first observed Jupiter closely in 1610 utilizing a telescope of his own design, scientists and also astronomers have been extremely fascinated through the Jovian planet. Not only is it the Solar System’s largest planet, however there space still things around this world – regardless of centuries of research and numerous expedition missions – that continue to mystify even our greatest minds.

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One that the key reasons for this is since Jupiter is therefore starkly various from what us Earth-dwellers take into consideration to it is in normal. In between its incredible size, mass, composition, the mysteries that its magnetic and gravitational fields, and its impressive system of moons, its visibility has displayed us just how varied planets deserve to truly be.

Size, Mass and also Density:

Earth’s has a median radius the 6,371 kilometres (3,958.8 mi), and also a mass of 5.97 × 1024 kg, whereas Jupiter has a typical radius of 69,911 ± 6 km (43441 mi) and also a mass of 1.8986×1027 kg. In short, Jupiter is almost 11 time the dimension of Earth, and just under 318 times together massive. However, Earth’s density is significantly higher, due to the fact that it is a terrestrial earth – 5.514 g/cm3 contrasted to 1.326 g/cm³.

Because of this, Jupiter’s “surface” gravity is significantly higher than earth normal – i.e. 9.8 m/s² or 1 g. While, together a gas giant, Jupiter has no surface ar per se, astronomers think that within Jupiter’s atmosphere where the atmospheric press is equal to 1 bar (which is equal to Earth’s in ~ sea level), Jupiter experiences a gravitational pressure of 24.79 m/s2 (which is the indistinguishable of 2.528 g).

Jupiter/Earth comparison. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard/Tdadamemd

Composition and also Structure:

Earth is a terrestrial planet, which way it is composed of silicate minerals and also metal that are differentiated between a steel core and a silicate mantle and also crust. The core itself is also differentiated, between an inner core and outer core (which spins in the opposite direction of Earth’s rotation). Together one descends native the crust to the interior, temperatures and pressure increase.

The shape of earth approximates that of one oblate spheroid, a round flattened follow me the axis native pole come pole such that there is a bulge around the equator. This bulge results from the rotation of Earth, and causes the diameter at the equator to be 43 kilometers (27 mi) bigger than the pole-to-pole diameter.

In contrast, Jupiter is composed mainly of gaseous and also liquid matter which is divided in between a gaseous external atmosphere and also a denser interior. It’s upper environment is composed of around 88–92% hydrogen and 8–12% helium by volume of gas molecules, and also approx. 75% hydrogen and 24% helium by mass, v the staying one percent consists of various other elements.

The atmosphere contains trace amounts of methane, water vapor, ammonia, and also silicon-based compounds and trace amounts of benzene and other hydrocarbons. There are also traces of carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulfide, neon, oxygen, phosphine, and sulfur. Crystals that frozen ammonia have also been it was observed in the outermost great of the atmosphere.

Jupiter’s structure and composition. (Image Credit: Kelvinsong CC by S.A. 3.0)

The denser interior is written of about 71% hydrogen, 24% helium and also 5% other facets by mass. The is believed that Jupiter’s core is a dense mix of elements – a surrounding layer of liquid metallic hydrogen with some helium, and an external layer mostly of molecular hydrogen. The core has likewise been inferred together being rocky, but this stays unknown as well.

And much like Earth, temperatures and pressures inside Jupiter increase considerably toward the core. At the “surface”, the pressure and also temperature are thought to it is in 10 bars and 340 K (67 °C, 152 °F). In the an ar where hydrogen i do not care metallic, it is believed that temperatures reach 10,000 K (9,700 °C; 17,500 °F) and pressures 200 GPa. The temperature in ~ the core boundary is estimated to it is in 36,000 K (35,700 °C; 64,300 °F) and the interior pressure at roughly 3,000–4,500 GPa.

Also choose Earth, Jupiter’s shape is that of one oblate spheroid. In fact, Jupiter’s polar flattening is higher than that of Earth’s – 0.06487 ± 0.00015 contrasted to 0.00335. This is as result of Jupiter’s quick rotation ~ above its axis, and is why the planet’s equatorial radius is approximately 4600 kilometres larger 보다 its polar radius.

Orbital Parameters:

Earth has actually a an extremely minor orbital eccentricity (approx. 0.0167) and ranges in distance from 147,095,000 km (0.983 AU) native the sunlight at perihelion come 151,930,000 km (1.015 AU) in ~ aphelion. This works out to an mean distance (aka. Semi-major axis) that 149,598,261 km, i m sorry is the communication of a solitary Astronomical Unit (AU).

The orbits of the inner planets the the Solar System, through Jupiter and also the donut-shaped asteroid belt is located in between them. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The planet has one orbital duration of 365.25 days, i beg your pardon is the indistinguishable of 1.000017 Julian years. This means that every 4 years (in what is well-known as a Leap Year), the earth calendar must include an extra day. Though technically a full day is taken into consideration to be 24 hrs long, our planet takes specifically 23h 56m and also 4 s to complete a single sidereal rotation (0.997 earth days). But an unified with that orbital period around the Sun, the time between one sunrise and also another (a Solar Day) is 24 hours.

Viewed native the celestial phibìc pole, the motion of Earth and also its axial rotation appear counterclockwise. From the vantage point above the phibìc poles that both the Sun and Earth, earth orbits the sunlight in a counterclockwise direction. Earth’s axis is tilted also 23.4° towards the ecliptic of the Sun, which is responsible for creating seasonal sports on the planet’s surface. In addition to developing variations in temperature, this additionally results in sports in the quantity of sunlight a hemisphere receives throughout the course of a year.

Meanwhile, Jupiter orbits the sun at an average distance (semi-major axis) the 778,299,000 kilometres (5.2 AU), varying from 740,550,000 km (4.95 AU) in ~ perihelion and 816,040,000 km (5.455 AU) in ~ aphelion. In ~ this distance, Jupiter bring away 11.8618 planet years to complete a single orbit that the Sun. In various other words, a solitary Jovian year large the equivalent of 4,332.59 earth days.

The banded appearance of Jupiter’s top atmopshere, which is partly as result of its fast rotation. Credit: NASA

However, Jupiter’s rotation is the faster of all the Solar System’s planets, perfect a solitary rotation ~ above its axis in slightly much less than ten hrs (9 hours, 55 minutes and also 30 seconds). Therefore, a single Jovian year big 10,475.8 Jovian solar days.


Earth’s environment is made up of 5 main layers – the Troposphere, the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere, the Thermosphere, and the Exosphere. As a rule, air pressure and density to decrease the greater one goes right into the atmosphere and the furthermore one is from the surface. However, the relationship between temperature and also altitude is an ext complicated, and also may even rise with altitude in some cases.

The troposphere contains about 80% the the fixed of earth’s atmosphere, through some 50% situated in the reduced 5.6 kilometres (3.48 mi), making it denser 보다 all the overlying atmospheric layers. The is mainly composed of nitrogen (78%) and also oxygen (21%) through trace concentration of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gaseous molecules.

Nearly every atmospheric water vapor or moisture is found in the troposphere, so the is the great where most of earth meteorological phenomena (clouds, rain, snow, lightning storms) take it place. The one exception is the Thermoposphere, wherein the phenomena well-known as Aurora Borealis and also Aurara Australis (aka. The Northern and also Southern Lights) are recognized to take place.

As already noted, Jupiter’s environment is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, through trace amounts of other elements. Lot like Earth, Jupiter experience auroras close to its northern and southern poles. But on Jupiter, the auroral task is much an ext intense and rarely ever before stops. The extreme radiation, Jupiter’s magnetic field, and also the variety of product from Io’s volcanoes the react through Jupiter’s ionosphere create a light present that is truly spectacular.

Jupiter likewise experiences violent weather patterns. Wind speed of 100 m/s (360 km/h) are typical in zonal jets, and also can reach as high as 620 kph (385 mph). Storms kind within hours and can end up being thousands of kilometres in diameter overnight. One storm, the great Red Spot, has been raging because at least the so late 1600s. The storm has been shrinking and expanding throughout its history; yet in 2012, the was argued that the giant Red Spot could eventually disappear.

Jupiter is perpetually extended with clouds created of ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. These clouds are situated in the tropopause and also are arranged into bands of different latitudes, known as “tropical regions”. The cloud class is only about 50 km (31 mi) deep, and also consists the at least two decks of clouds: a thick reduced deck and a thin fingerprint region.

Composite photos from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Hubble an are Telescope display the hyper-energetic x-ray auroras at Jupiter. Credit: NASA/CXC/UCL/W.Dunn et al/STScI

There may likewise be a slim layer that water clouds basic the ammonia layer, as confirmed by flashes of lightning detected in the setting of Jupiter, which would certainly be caused by the water’s polarity creating the fee separation needed for lightning. Monitorings of these electric discharges indicate that they can be as much as a thousand times as powerful as those observed below on the Earth.


Earth has only one orbiting satellite, The Moon. That existence has actually been known of since prehistoric times, and also it has actually played a major role in the mythological and also astronomical legacies of all human cultures and also has a far-reaching effect ~ above Earth’s tides. In the modern-day era, the Moon has ongoing to serve as a focal point for astronomical and also scientific research, too as space exploration.

In fact, the Moon is the just celestial body external of planet that humans have actually to walk on. The first Moon landing took place on July 20th, 1969, and Neil Armstrong was the first person to collection foot on the surface. Because that time, a full of 13 astronauts have been come the Moon, and the study that they lugged out has actually been critical in helping united state to learn around its composition and formation.

Thanks to examinations of Moon rocks the were brought back to Earth, the primary theory claims that the Moon was created approximately 4.5 billion years back from a collision between Earth and also a Mars-sized object (known together Theia). This collision developed a massive cloud of debris that started circling our planet, which at some point coalesced to type the Moon we view today.

Illustration the Jupiter and the Galilean satellites. Credit: NASA

The Moon is just one of the largest herbal satellites in the Solar System and is the second-densest satellite that those whose densities are well-known (after Jupiter’s satellite Io). The is additionally tidally locked with Earth, definition that one next is constantly facing towards united state while the various other is facing away. The far side, known as the “Dark Side”, continued to be unknown to human beings until probes were sent to photo it.

The Jovian system, on the other hand, has actually 67 well-known moons. The four largest are recognized as the Galilean Moons, which are called after their discoverer, Galileo Galilei. They include: Io, the many volcanically energetic body in ours Solar System; Europa, i beg your pardon is doubt of having actually a huge subsurface ocean; Ganymede, the largest moon in our Solar System; and also Callisto, which is likewise thought to have actually a subsurface ocean and also features few of the earliest surface material in the Solar System.

Then there’s the Inner team (or Amalthea group), i beg your pardon is comprised of four tiny moons that have actually diameters of much less than 200 km, orbit at radii less than 200,000 km, and have orbital inclinations of less than fifty percent a degree. This groups consists of the moons that Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, and also Thebe. In addition to a variety of as-yet-unseen inner moonlets, this moons replenish and also maintain Jupiter’s faint ring system.

Jupiter also has range of rarely often, rarely Satellites, i m sorry are dramatically smaller and also have much more distant and also eccentric orbits 보다 the others. These moons are broken down into family members that have similarities in orbit and composition, and also are thought to be largely the an outcome of collisions from large objects that were recorded by Jupiter’s gravity.

In just around every means imaginable, Earth and also Jupiter might not be much more different. And there are still many things about the Jovian earth that we perform not yet totally understand. Speaking of which, be sure to remain tuned to Universe this particular day for the latest updates from NASA’s Juno mission.

We have actually written countless interesting articles around the planets the the Solar System right here at universe Today. Here’s Earth compared to Mercury, Earth compared to Venus, The Moon contrasted to Earth, Earth contrasted to Mars, Saturn compared to Earth, and Neptune compared to Earth.

Want more information top top Jupiter? Here’s a link to Hubblesite’s News Releases about Jupiter, and here’s NASA’s Solar System expedition Guide.

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We have actually recorded a podcast just about Jupiter because that Astronomy Cast. Click here and also listen to episode 56: Jupiter.