Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far, the largest planet in the solar system. In fact, it is so massive that over a thousand Earths could fit in its volume. Having a mass of 1.9 x 1027 kg, Jupiter's mass exceeds all the other planets combined more two times. Its diameter stretches 142,984 kilometers (88,736 miles) and has an orbit of 778,330,000 km (5.20 AU) from Sun. Jupiter has sixteen satellites and a very faint ring system discovered in 1979 by Voyager 1. The planet is a gas planet and is comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium, with smaller amounts of methane, ammonia, water and other chemicals.
The planet Jupiter (Jove) was named after the King of the Gods and the ruler of Olympus. It is the fourth brightest object seen from Earth and has been known since the prehistoric times. The four largest satellites of Jupiter, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io were discovered by Galileo in 1610 and are now named after him: the Galilean Moons. On a historical note, this discovery caused major consternation between Galileo and the Inquisition because the idea that a system of motion not centered on Earth favored the heavily disapproved heliocentric theory propounded by Copernicus. Galileo, being outspoken in support for the heliocentric theory instead of the geocentric theory was thrown into prison for the rest of his life.
Jupiter Site Contents
- Introduction to Jupiter
- Orbital and Physical Data