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Jupiter is a huge planet, about 1,000 times the size of Earth. There is a very faint ring around it, called the Gossamer Ring. Jupiter has 16 known satellites (moons). Its four largest and most commonly known moons are Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. Jupiter was named after the roman god Jupiter. The god Jupiter was like the Greek god Zeus. Another attribute of this planet is the huge storm, which is 25,000 miles around, 8,700 miles wide and has huge winds that are faster than any on Earth, 310 miles per hour! That could blow anything down, if there were any plants or anything else on the planet. This huge storm is constantly shrinking, 100 years ago it was 2 x its present size.
Jupiter's mass equals 318 x Earth's mass. The reason such a large planet's mass is only 318 x Earth's when it is 1,000 x larger in size is because it is mostly made up of the gases hydrogen and helium. Jupiter also doesn't have a solid surface, but it does have a giant lake of liquid hydrogen. The Earth is mostly solid except for its bodies of water (oceans, lakes, rivers etc.), molten core, and atmosphere.
In 1994 the comet Shoemaker-levy 9 struck Jupiter, exploding like many hydrogen bombs. Before it entered the atmosphere it shattered into 21 pieces. If you look at it now (through a telescope) you would see red splotches, which are the remains of the comet.
Click here to go to Saturn, the next stop on our tour.