|Average Distance from Sun||778,412,010 km|
|Mass||1.90 x 1027 kg|
|Size compared to Earth||11x|
|Gravity compared to Earth||2.34x|
|Surface Temperature||165 K|
|Length of day||9 hours 50 minutes|
|Length of year||11.84 years|
|Eccentricity of Orbit||0.048|
|Atmosphere||Hydrogen - 90%|
Helium - 10%
Traces of Methane & Ammonia
Jupiter was the king of the gods in Roman mythology — a fitting name for the largest of the planets.
Physical Characteristics of the Planet Jupiter
Jupiter is the most massive planet in our solar system, more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined, and had it been about 80 times more massive, it would have actually become a star instead of a planet. Its atmosphere resembles that of the sun, made up mostly of hydrogen and helium, and with four large moons and many smaller moons in orbit around it, Jupiter by itself forms a kind of miniature solar system. All told, the immense volume of Jupiter could hold more than 1,300 Earths.
CREDIT: Jimmy Eubanks
The colorful bands of Jupiter are arranged in dark belts and light zones created by strong east-west winds in the planet's upper atmosphere traveling more than 400 miles per hour (640 kilometers per hour). The white clouds in the zones are made of crystals of frozen ammonia, while darker clouds of other chemicals are found in the belts. At the deepest visible levels are blue clouds.
The most extraordinary feature on Jupiter is undoubtedly the Great Red Spot, a giant hurricane-like storm seen for more than 300 years. At its widest, the Great Red Spot is three times the diameter of the Earth, and its edge spins counterclockwise around its center at a speed of about 225 miles (360 kilometers) per hour. The color of the storm, which usually varies from brick red to slightly brown, may come from small amounts of sulfur and phosphorus in the ammonia crystals in Jupiter's clouds. Every now and again, the Great Red Spot seems to fade entirely.
Jupiter spins faster than any other planet, taking a little under 10 hours to complete a turn on its axis, compared with 24 hours for Earth. This rapid spin actually makes Jupiter bulge at the equator and flatten at the poles, making the planet about 7 percent wider at the equator than at the poles.
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