The planet Jupiter is named after the king of the Roman gods whose Greek counterpart was Zeus. It is the biggest planet in our solar system, which is where it derived its association with the mythological supreme god.
Here are some more interesting facts about the planet Jupiter:
Size: Jupiter is classified as a gas giant, along with the other outer planets of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Jupiter (142,984 km) is around 11 times wider than the Earth (12,753 km), which could fit inside Jupiter more than 1000 times.
Atmosphere: The planet is almost entirely composed of gas and liquid (roughly 90% hydrogen and 10% helium) and does not have a solid surface. Its gaseous material simply gets denser with depth, and we see Jupiter’s clouds in the atmosphere as horizontal bands of different colors reflecting their composition. The white bands are colored by ammonia clouds, the orange comes from ammonium hydrosulfide clouds, while the famous Great Red Spot of Jupiter is an enormous high-pressure storm believed to be caused by certain compounds of phosphorous and sulfur.
Moons: The King of Planets has at least 67 moons, the four most famous of which are known as the Galilean moons, in honor of their discoverer Galileo in 1610. They are Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede, the biggest moon in the solar system.
Day/Year: Jupiter has the shortest day of all planets in our solar system at only 9 hours and 55 minutes. Furthermore, its fast rotation causes the planet to be squashed 7% wider at the equator than at the poles. One year on Jupiter lasts 12 Earth years.
Gravity: Jupiter’s gravity plays a major part in pulling in comets, asteroids, and meteorites which could be on a collision course with the Earth. The planet’s gravity is also used to catapult spacecraft further away into deep space, such as the 1975 Voyager missions. To date, there are nine spacecraft to have visited Jupiter.
Viewing: Jupiter can easily be seen from Earth and appears as yellow and very bright. Even a set of binoculars will allow you to view the four Galilean moons, whereas a small 4.5″ telescope will bring the Great Red Spot and equatorial zones into focus. Jupiter’s brilliant bands of color can also be seen.