It’s massive, has a powerful magnetic field, and is surrounded by numerous moons. It’s no wonder that Jupiter is named after the king of the gods! Calling Jupiter a giant ball of gas is an understatement. But what more is there to say about this gargantuan planet? Keep on reading to learn loads of facts about Jupiter.
Fact 1: Jupiter is the fifth farthest planet from the Sun and lies between Mars and Saturn
Fact 2: Jupiter is by far the largest planet in the solar system in size, mass, and volume.
Fact 3: Jupiter’s total mass is approximately one-thousand times smaller than the Sun’s mass.
Fact 4: The gas giant is named after the Roman god Jupiter.
Fact 5: Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the night sky after the Sun, the Moon, and Venus.
Fact 6: The gas giant is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium and is very similar in composition to the Sun.
Fact 7: Jupiter lacks a well-defined solid surface. Unlike Earth, which has a solid surface with a thin atmosphere above it, Jupiter just has an extremely thick atmosphere.
Fact 8: Helium accounts for only a quarter of Jupiter’s mass, and only a tenth of the planet’s total number of molecules.
Fact 9: Jupitar has a whopping 79 known moons. For comparison, Saturn who has the next highest number of moons, has 17 fewer moons than Jupiter at 62 known moons.
Fact 10: Jupiter has been a subject for several robotic spacecraft explorations since the 1970s.
Fact 11: In February 2007, the New Horizons probe approached the giant gas planet and used its gravity to increase its speed, and bend its trajectory into the path of Pluto.
Fact 12: The altitude of Jupiter’s planetary atmosphere stretches to over 5,000 km.
Fact 13: Since Jupiter has no surface, the base of its atmosphere is usually considered to be the point at which atmospheric pressure is equal to 100 kPa or 1.0 bar.
Fact 14: Astronomers have called Jupiter a failed star because, like the sun and other stars, Jupiter is rich in hydrogen and helium. However, it doesn’t have enough mass to trigger fusion reactions in its core.
Fact 15: It only takes Jupiter around 10 hours to complete a full rotation on its axis, 14 hrs faster than Earth.
Fact 16: Due to Jupiter’s fast rotational velocity that the planet has flattened out at the poles a little, and is bulging at its equator. So much so that Jupiter’s equatorial diameter is over 1 Earth’s Width wider than the pole to pole diameter. That’s why Jupiter looks visibly squashed.
Fact 17: Jupiter’s clouds are only 50 kilometers thick. The rest of Jupiter’s atmosphere is just a soup of hydrogen and helium and a few other elements and compounds.
Fact 18: In 1665, Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini discovered the Great Red Spot on Jupiter’s surface.
Fact 19: The Great Red spot on Jupiter’s surface is a persistent anticyclonic storm is located south of Jupiter’s equator.
Fact 20: The Great Red Spot measures around 24,000 km in diameter, and 14,000 km in height which is far bigger than the total size of the Earth which is 12,742 km. The spot has constantly been around since Cassini first discovered it.
Fact 21: The Great Red Spot is shrinking. Over a century ago the spot was over 40,000 km Wide. Now it’s nearly only half that.
Fact 22: In 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered Jupiter’s four largest moons: Ganymede, Europa, Io, and Callisto.
Fact 23: The moons of Jupiter, Ganymede, Europa, Io, and Callisto, were the first objects found orbiting another planet.
Fact 24: At the time of writing, the next planned mission to the Jovian system is set to launch in 2022.
Fact 25: The European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) will be the first mission to Jupiter that explicitly explores the Jovian moons.
Fact 26: NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, in 2023, will be sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa to determine if it harbors life.
Fact 27: Jupiter is just over 11 times wider than Earth.
Fact 28: The gas planet has a radius of 43,440.7 miles or 71,492 km.
Fact 29: Although it’s impossible for life to exist on Jupiter itself, one of its moons, Europa is a promising alternative to Earth. There’s evidence of a vast ocean just beneath Europa’s icy crust, where life could possibly be supported.
Fact 30: One of Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede, is bigger than the planet Mercury.
Fact 31: The names of Jupiter’s four largest moons were derived from the lovers of the god Zeus.
Fact 32: In 1979, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft discovered Jupiter’s ring system.
Fact 33: Jupiter’s rings are made up of small, dark particles and are difficult to see except when backlit by the Sun. Jupiter is known to have 4 sets of rings: the Halo Ring, the Main Ring, the Amalthea Gossamer Ring, and the Thebe Gossamer Ring.
Fact 34: Jupiter took shape around 4.6 billion years ago, the same time as the solar system began to form. The planets were gradually built up by accretion of dust, which revolved around a young sun.
Fact 35: Its magnetic field is 20 times more powerful than Earth’s.
Fact 36: Jupiter has a large, complex, and intense magnetic field that is thought to arise from electrical currents in the rapidly spinning metallic hydrogen interior.
Fact 37: Jupiter has been called the solar system’s vacuum cleaner due to its immense gravity well that pulls in rogue comets and asteroids.
Fact 38: Because of its location in the inner solar system, and immense size, Jupiter receives more comet impacts in comparison to the other planets in the solar system.
Fact 39: Jupiter’s gravitational field controls numerous Trojan asteroids in the Lagrangian points.
Fact 40: Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids are divided into Greek and Trojan “camps” to commemorate the Iliad. The first of these, 588 Achilles, was discovered by Max Wolf in 1906.
Fact 41: Jupiter orbits at an average velocity of 13.07 km/s. To give you some idea of how hugely fast that speed is, you could travel the full width of the United States, all 3,941 km of it, in 5 minutes!
Fact 42: At aphelion, or when Jupiter is farthest from the Sun during its orbit, the giant planet is a staggering 816.62 million km from the sun. Or over 5.4 times the distance Earth is from the Sun.
Fact 43: At perihelion, or when a planet is closest to the Sun during its orbit, Jupiter is 740.52 million km from the Sun. Just under 5 times the distance Earth is from the Sun.
Fact 44: On average, Jupiter is 778.57 million km from the Sun.
Fact 45: Jupiter’s orbit takes 11.86 Earth years to complete. That equals roughly 4333 Earth days.
Fact 46: Jupiter’s orbit, in Jovian solar days, is approximately 10,476 days long.
Fact 47: The equatorial diameter of Jupiter is roughly 142,984 km. To give you some perspective about how huge this planet is, if you replaced the full moon with Jupiter, Jupiter would be 41 times wider in the sky than the moon. Or 20.5° of the night sky would be filled by the Giant planet.
Fact 48: Jupitar has a circumference of 439,264 km! That more the distance from Earth to the Moon. If you were traveling at normal commercial airline cruising speeds of 900 km/h, it would take you 488 hours, or nearly 3 weeks, of continuous non-stop flying to circumnavigate the planet.
Fact 49: Jupiter’s volume is 1.4313×1015 km3. That’s a massive number which fully written out looks something like this: 1,431,300,000,000,000. Which is 1.4 quadrillion km3.
Fact 50: Jupiters volume is so massive, you could easily fit all the other planets in the solar system, plus all the comets and asteroids, inside Jupitar comfortably.
Fact 51: Jupiter’s mass is roughly 1.8982×1027 kg. This number is almost completely beyond comprehension in everyday life. First of all, it’s roughly 317 times the mass of Earth.
Fact 53: Jupiter’s surface gravity is 24.79 m/s2 which is 2.5 times stronger than Earth’s gravity.
Fact 54: Jupiter’s escape velocity, the velocity an object, such as a rocket, has to be traveling at to completely escape the gravitation pull of a planet or other object, is 59.5 km/s. In comparison, Earth’s escape velocity is only 11.186 km/s.
Fact 55: The apparent magnitude, a measure of the brightness of an object in the sky, of Jupiter is −2.94. The lower the number the brighter the object. The human eye can only see objects with a magnitude lower than 6.5. For comparison, the Moon’s apparent magnitude is -12.6.
Fact 56: Other than hydrogen and helium, Jupiter also contains trace amounts of methane, ammonia, hydrogen deuteride, ethane, and water.
Fact 57: Jupiter has two-and-a-half times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System combined.
Fact 58: Jupiter has been known to ancient civilizations since well before recorded history as it can easily be seen by the naked eye.
Fact 59: On a very dark night on Earth, the light reflected from Jupiter is bright enough to cast shadows.
Fact 60: Jupiter’s outer atmosphere is separated into multiple cloud bands at different latitudes around the equator. Many of which move slower or faster compared to neighboring bands. This results in extreme turbulence and storms along different band’s edges.
Fact 61: On December 4, 1973, Pioneer 10, a NASA spacecraft, became the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter.
Fact 62: The Pioneer 10 spacecraft’s closest approach to Jupiter was at a distance of 130,000 million kilometers.
Fact 63: Voyager 1, a NASA space probe, encounter Jupiter on March 5, 1979.
Fact 64: Its closest approach to Jupiter Voyager 1 was at a distance of 280,000 kilometers from the planet’s surface.
Fact 65: Voyager 2, another NASA space probe that was part of the voyager program, made it closes approach with Jupiter at 22:29 UT on July 9, 1979. 4 months after Voyager 1’s closes approach.
Fact 66: On Voyager 2’s closest approach it came within 570,000 km of Jupiter’s surface. some 190,000 km further away than Voyager 1’s approach.
Fact 67: At time of writing, NASA’s Juno probe was the latest probe to visit the planet. It entered into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
Fact 68: By mass, roughly 71% of Jupiter is hydrogen.
Fact 69: Jupitar is almost exactly 10 times less wide than the sun. The Sun is 1.3927 million km wide and Jupiter is 139,820 km wide.
Fact 70: Jupiter’s mass is about 1/1000th the mass of the Sun.
Fact 71: Jupitar would only need 30% extra mass to become a small, non fusion produicing red dwarf star.
Fact 72: Jupiter would need 75 times its current mass to be able to create and sustain fusion reactions.
Fact 73: When Jupiter first formed it was about twice as wide as it is today because it was so much hotter. As jupiter aged, so to did it cool, and it shrank as a result of this heat loss. Jupiter is still cooling and shrinking today at a rate of about 2 cm every year.
Fact 74: Lightning on Jupiter, caused by water droplets i nthe atmosphere, can release around 1000 times the amount of energy compared to the lightning on earth.
Fact 75: The traditional orange and brown color of Jupiter’s clouds are caused by upwelling compounds changing color when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun.
Fact 76: The Great Red Spot is located 22° south of Jupiter’s equator.
Fact 77: The Great Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction. It takes six days to make a full rotation.
Fact 78: Other than the Great Red Spot, Jupiter has other lesser storms called white ovals and brown ovals.
Fact 79: There is a Great Cold Spot located at Jupiter’s north pole. It was discovered in April 2017, and it’s 24,000 km across.
Fact 80: Jupitars normal Magnet field is a bubble that extends 5.25 million km from Jupitars center. But there is a tail facing directly away from the sun, that streches millions of kilometer more as far back as Saturn’s orbit.
Fact 81: The axial tilt of Jupiter is only 3.13°. This is small compared to earth tilt which is 23.5°. In fact, jupiters tilt is so small, the planet experances no tilt related seasons.
Fact 82: Jupitar get Aurorae at the north and south poles, just like Earth does.
Fact 83: Jupiter’s rotation is the fastest of all the planets in the solar system.
Fact 84: In 2000, some of the highest resolution pictures of Jupiter were taken when the Cassini probe flew by Jupiter on its way to Saturn.
Fact 85: Pioneer 11 came within 34,000 km of Jupiter’s surface during it flyby mission.
Fact 86: Jupitar’s planetary ring systems streches out to 226,000 km from the planets center.
Fact 87: Jupitar’s rings are incredibly faint and have not been closly studied.
Fact 88: In july 1994, Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 broke apart and collided with Jupiter. The resulting impacts created multiple short-lived dark scars on jupitars surface that were each the diameter of Earth in size.
Fact 89: The Wesley impact, was an impact on Jupiter that caused a black scar in the planet’s atmosphere in July 2009.
Fact 90: The 2010 Jupiter impact event was a small object, estimated to be 8-13 meter in diameter, impact event on Jupiter.
Fact 91: Jupiter’s atmosphere is considered to be about 5,000 km thick.
Fact 92: Jupiter is the only planet whose barycenter with the Sun lies outside the Sun’s body. But only by 7% of the Sun’s radius.
Fact 93: Jupitar’s moon Europa is considered to be one of most promissing sites for alient micobial life because it has subterrainian ociean.
Fact 94: When viewed through Earth-based telescopes Jupiter always appears fully illuminated. It never has a cressent appearence like a half moon.
Fact 95: Jupitar was called the “wood star” by the Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and Japanese.
Fact 96: The observation of Jupiter dates back to the 7th or 8th century BC when Babylonian astronomers would study the planet with the naked eye.
Fact 97: The four largest moons of Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, are known as the Galilean moons.
Fact 98: All 4 of the Galilean Moons, Io, Europe, Ganymede, and Callisto, are found inside, and are protected by, Jupiters Magnet field.
Fact 99: During the 1660s, Giovanni Cassini used a new type of telescope to discover the colorful bands, spots, and storms on Jupiter
Fact 100: In 1892, E. E. Barnard discovered 5th mood of Jupitar and called it Amalthea.
Fact 101: On December 7, 1995, the Galileo probe became the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter