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The Planet Jupiter

Increase your child's knowledge about Jupiter, the largest and most violent planet in the solar system.

Jupiter is known as Zeus in Greek mythology, the King of the Gods. It is the largest planet in the solar system - much, much larger than the others. It is the fifth planet in the solar system, after Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

How many satellites does Jupiter have?

12 satellites have recently been discovered, bringing the total number of satellites to a whopping 28! The four largest moons of Jupiter are called Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Io is the highest moon to the left, and it has active volcanoes. By contrast, Ganymede has a completely icy surface. Ganymede is in fact the largest moon. Between Io and Jupiter are four little moons.

What is Jupiter composed of?

Unlike Earth, Jupiter is not a planet made of mass and matter. It is primarily a gaseous planet, composed of 90% hydrogen and 10% helium. The atmosphere surrounding Jupiter is so thick and dense, that the planet looks like a body of mass. However, there is a possibility that Jupiter has a solid, rocky core, which is around 15 times the size of the Earth. Also, as you go deeper into the center of Jupiter, Hydrogen is thought to exist in a liquid form.

What are auroras?

Jupiter has magnetically charged particles, that are attracted towards the North and South Poles of the planet. These auroras sit like halos around the planet.

How bright is Jupiter?

Jupiter is one of the brightest things in the sky, that is visible from the Earth. In fact, it is the fourth brightest thing in the sky, after the sun, the moon and the planet Venus, which is the brightest of all planets. Jupiter was earlier thought to be a bright star, until Galileo discovered its moons. It was strange to have moons rotating around a star, and Galileo's discoverey was not given adequate importance at the time.

What is the Great Red Spot?

The Great Red Spot that has been observed on Jupiter was discovered by Cassini. This 'spot' is actually double the size of the earth. It is a giant storm that has existed consistently for at least 300 years. No one knows what has caused the storm to rage in this manner for so long. In fact, the coldest region in Jupiter exists in this red spot. The spot is not stationary - it keeps moving, in a counter-clockwise direction.

Does Jupiter have rings?

Yes, Jupiter has rings, but unlike everything else about this complicated planet, the ring system is very simple. There are three rings surrounding Jupiter: an inner halo, the centre ring, and the outer Gossamer ring. It has now recently been discovered the the Gossamer ring is in fact two rings - one inside the other, not one besides the other! The inner halo is composed of fine particles of dust. The inner halo is in fact just an extension of the center ring. The center ring has a tendnecy to be drawn towards the center of the planet, and those parts from this center ring that have been drawn towards Jupiter form the light inner halo.


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