Jupiter is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating planets in our solar system.
Jupiter is huge. Mysterious. Colorful. Hypnotizing. And did I say it’s so big it doesn’t actually ‘orbit’ the sun?
Anyway, the gas giant has remained one of the most studied and revered planets since ancient times.
After the Sun, Jupiter is the largest celestial body in the solar system, with a mass almost two and a half times that of the other planets together (with a mass 318 times greater than that of Earth and three times greater than Saturn), besides being in terms of volume, 1317 times larger than Earth).
It is also the oldest planet in the solar system, being even older than the sun; this discovery was made by researchers from the University of Münster in Germany.
The Gas Giant has been explored on several occasions by spacecraft, most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions and later by the Galileo orbiter. In late February 2007, Jupiter was visited by the New Horizons probe, which used Jupiter’s gravity to increase its speed and bend its trajectory en route to Pluto. The latest probe to visit the planet is Juno, which entered into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
Jupiter is the planet with the largest mass in the solar system: it is about 2.48 times the sum of the masses of all the other planets together.
Despite this, it is not the most massive planet known: more than a hundred extrasolar planets that have been discovered have masses similar or superior to Jupiter.
Jupiter also has the fastest rotation speed of the planets of the solar system: it rotates in less than ten hours on its axis.
Altogether, it is one heck of a planet.
The main satellites of Jupiter were discovered by Galileo Galilei on January 7, 1610, which is why they are called Galilean satellites.
They receive their names from Greek mythology although, in Galileo’s time, they were referred to by Roman numerals depending on their order of proximity to the planet.
The discovery of these satellites constituted a point of inflection in the already long dispute between those who supported the idea of a geocentric system, that is, with the Earth at the center of the universe, and the Copernican (or heliocentric system, that is, with the Sun at the center of the solar system), in which it was much easier to explain the movement and the very existence of Jupiter’s natural satellites.
And while I can continue writing about Jupiter the rest of the day, words can’t describe just how beautiful the largest planet in our solar system is.
Thankfully, images speak a thousand words so here we bring you some of the most fascinating images of Jupiter taken by the Juno Spacecraft.