How big is Jupiter? | The Sun

GAS giant Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System – and the fifth farthest from the Sun.

Here's a guide to the mega-planet, including its size, moons, and the enormous swirling storm known as the Great Red Spot.

How big is Jupiter? 

Jupiter is by far the biggest planet in our Solar System. 

In fact, it is 2.5 times the combined mass of all the other planets put together.

Jupiter has 4 sets of rings made up of dust and small pieces of rocks. 

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Jupiter's 4 rings are the halo ring, main ring, the Amalthea gossamer ring, and the Thebe gossamer ring.

All of the giant planets in our Solar System all have rings around them.

However most planet, like Jupiter, have rings that reflect light very poorly, so they are very difficult to see.

How many moons does Jupiter have?

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Jupiter has 79 moons, 53 of which have been named and 26 which have no name.

The planet can support so many moons because its size and mass give it gravitational stability.

This means asteroids near Jupiter are either pulled in and destroyed – or go into orbit.

Jupiter also has the strongest magnetic field of all the planets in our solar system.

Plus, Jupiter has some moons orbiting in the opposite direction to the others, and so also in the opposite direction to Jupiter’s rotation.

Some of Jupiter’s moons are tiny, around 2km in diameter, such as Pandea, Dia, and Ersa.

Many of these were discovered as recently as 2017, using high-tech Earth telescopes.

Others were found much earlier, such as Pasiphae in 1908 and Lysethea in 1938.

Ganymede is Jupiter’s biggest moon.In fact, it is the largest satellite in our solar system – larger than Mercury and three-quarters the size of Mars.

It is the only moon in the solar system to have its own magnetic field.Ganymede is one of the Galilean satellites – the four largest moons of Jupiter – which were discovered by Galileo.

They were the first to be found and are also the most scientifically interesting.

Although Ganymede is as big as Mercury, it is only half the density.

It is the most volcanically-active body in our solar system, and the only one other than Earth.

The moon Europa is one of the brightest in our solar system.

Its surface is almost all water and ice, and it is thought to be the most likely planet other than Earth for life to exist.

Callisto is the most heavily cratered object in our solar system.

What colour is Jupiter?

Jupiter is of orange-yellow color but reflects mainly blue and white rays of the spectrum.

The outer atmosphere of Jupiter is mostly hydrogen and helium, with some water droplets, ice crystals, and ammonia crystals. 

When these elements form clouds, they create shades of white, orange, brown, and red, the colors of Jupiter.

The whole planet is made primarily of gases and is therefore known as a “gas giant”.

What is Jupiter's red spot?

Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot is an enormous storm.

In fact, it's the largest storm in the Solar System.

It measures around 10,160 miles wide – roughly 1.3 times the diameter of Earth.

Winds at the edge of the cyclone peak at about 268mph – faster than Earth's highest wind speed on record (253mph).

How far is Jupiter from Earth?

NASA astronomers found that it takes an average of six years to reach Jupiter from Earth.

However, Jupiter and Earth are moving in space all the time so the distance is changing all the time.

When it is nearest to us in its orbit, Jupiter is about 365 million miles away. 

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And when it is furthest away from us, Jupiter is 601 million miles away.

The last time scientists sent a spacecraft to jupiter was in 1989.

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