42 Salient Facts About Jupiter

Last updated on April 10th, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Our Solar System is vast and there are multitudes of things that are being discovered about it by scientists all over the world. Jupiter is an important planet and in the recent years, a lot of important information and data about it has been gathered by various space agencies. With these 42 facts about Jupiter, let’s learn more about this gas giant.  

Fact 1. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun in the solar system and the largest of all.

“Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth.”

Fact 2. Jupiter is the third brightest planet in the night sky after Earth’s moon and Venus.

Fact 3. Jupiter mainly consists of Hydrogen, Helium and other liquid matter.

Fact 4. Jupiter, like other most planets is not a well defined solid object. It mainly consists of gaseous matter.

Fact 5. Jupiter is famous for its Great Red Spot, which is a giant spot observed first in the 17th century. The giant Red Spot is a dust storm that is so immense that it gets larger than the size of Earth.

Fact 6. Four of the Jupiter’s moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. These are the largest of all the moons that Jupiter has and are called the Galilean satellites.

“Ganymede (larger than Mercury and three-fourths the size of Mars) is the only moon in the solar system to have its own magnetic field.”

Ganymede quick facts 
Discovered byGalileo Galilei
Discovery dateJanuary 7, 1610
Diameter5262.4 Km
Mass1.48 x 10^23 kg
Orbit distance1,070,400 km
Orbit period7.16 days
Surface temperature-163 degree Celcius

Fact 7. Jupiter has been studied by at least 8 space crafts that have been sent to space for the mission. They were sent by NASA between 1979 and 2007. They are Pioneer 10, Pioneer-Saturn, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Ulysses, Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons.

Fact 8. Jupiter is also famous for its colored clouds that are red, brown, yellow and white. These clouds appear as strips on the planet and impart Jupiter a very distinctive look.

Fact 9. Jupiter’s ring system has three main components that were spotted for the first time in 1976 by Voyager. They are named: Halo (a thick inner ring), Main (a wide and flat ring) and Gossamer rings (a pair of faint outer rings).

Jupiter's Ring system
Facts about Jupiter: Jupiter’s ring system and four of its moons. Image credit – NASA

Fact 10. Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field in the solar system, except that of the Sun.

“More than 1,300 Earths would fit inside Jupiter.”

Fact 11. It also has an ocean of liquid Hydrogen, which is responsible for almost all the power that this giant planet has. Due to the high speed with which the planet spins, the liquid inside the planet attracts everything that comes in its vicinity and produces a strong magnetic field.

Fact 12. Jupiter is also accredited with having the largest moon in the solar system – Ganymede (diameter – 5262 kilometers). This was also discovered by Galileo, and this moon is even bigger than the planet Mercury.

Fact 13. A special spacecraft – Juno – was sent by NASA in 2011 which reached its orbit around Jupiter on July 4th, 2016. It is expected that this spacecraft will send a lot of potential data about Jupiter back to Earth.

Fact 14. Jupiter also has the ability to alter the orbit of other planets such as Mars and that’s mainly because of its weight.

“Pioneer 10 was the first mission launched to study Jupiter in 1972.”

Fact 15. Jupiter is also nicknamed “vacuum cleaner of the solar system” because of its ability to attract other heavenly bodies into it due to its sheer mass and strong magnetic field.

Fact 16. Jupiter helps the earth by deflecting comets and asteroids away from it. Otherwise, these comets and asteroids could strike Earth causing potential damage.

Fact 17. Jupiter does not have a conducive environment for supporting any life form on it.

Fact 18. Scientists believe that Jupiter could have been a star had it been 80 times more massive than what it is today.

Fact 19. As Jupiter spins at a high speed, and because of the lack of solid mass in the planet’s composition, Jupiter has flattened out at the poles and has bulged at the equator.

Fact 20. Jupiter is the biggest source of radio emissions in the sky. Its radio waves are even received on Earth but are mostly below the audible level for humans.

Also read: facts about Saturn

Fact 21. Ice vs Gas: Uranus and Neptune are ice giants while Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants.

Fact 22. Jupiter can easily put to fire anything that comes in its contact. Thus, the spacecraft sent to study the planet are always at a risk of burning down when they have to come close to the planet for making the required observations.

“The Great Red Spot — first identified in 1665 — is a monster storm on Jupiter which is twice the size of Earth and has been in existence for over 350 years now.”

The red spot on Jupiter
The Red Spot on Jupiter, it circulates anticlockwise and takes 6 days to completes its circulation. Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Fact 23. Jupiter is 318 times heavier than earth.

Fact 24. Jupiter’s mass is one thousandth that of Sun’s mass and equal to two and a half times the mass of all other planets combined.

Fact 25. Jupiter has the maximum number of moons in the solar system – 67 to be precise. 53 of these are named while the rest 14 are yet to be named.

Fact 26. The composition of Jupiter is similar to that of the Sun (learn interesting facts about the Sun.)

Fact 27. Jupiter is at a distance of 5.2 AU from the Sun.

Fact 28. Jupiter is a windy planet. It experiences wind speeds of 192 mph to more than 400 mph.

Fact 29. Jupiter spins faster than any other planet in the solar system. It takes 10 hours to complete its rotation around the Sun. This means that the length of a day on Jupiter is only 10 hours as compared to the 24 hours on Earth.

Fact 30. One year on Jupiter is equal to 12 years on Earth.

“Jupiter’s core is about 24000 degree Celsius. That is hotter than the surface of Sun.”

Jupiter, its different layers and its core which can either be solid or liquid.
Jupiter, its different layers, and core which can either be solid or liquid. Image credit – NASA

Fact 31. Jupiter is named after Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods in mythology.

Fact 32. An astronaut weighing 100 pounds on earth would weigh 240 pounds on Jupiter.

Fact 33. Jupiter’s magnetic field is 16 to 54 times as powerful as that of the earth.

Fact 33. Jupiter because of its immense size influences the space between 600,000 and 2 million miles towards the Sun.

Fact 33. Another interesting fact about Jupiter is that the planet’s equator rotates at a different speed than its polar regions. A day at its equator is around 9 hours 50 minutes long while that at its poles is 9 hours and 56 minutes long.

Fact 34. The length of each season on Jupiter is roughly three years.

Fact 35. Jupiter has an average temperature of minus 145 degree Celsius. However, it is a notable fact here that the temperature of Jupiter changes not due to the change in its distance from the Sun but due to the change in its height above its surface, meaning that the regions near the core of the planet are hotter than those away from it.

Fact 36. Jupiter emits more heat that it receives from the Sun, almost four times of its intake.

“Jupiter has the shortest day in the Solar system.”

Fact 37. The temperature on Jupiter ranges between minus 128 degree Celsius and minus 13 degree Celsius.

Fact 38. Jupiter has the largest ocean in the Solar System, an ocean made up of liquid hydrogen instead of water.

Fact 39. A spacecraft couldn’t potential land on Jupiter because of lack of a solid surface. The planet is built mostly from gasses and liquids that are swirling around.

Fact 40. Europa — one of Jupiter’s moons — is one of the likeliest places to find life elsewhere in our solar system.

Fact 41. On 7th December 1995, the first samples of Jupiter’s atmosphere were collected by NASA’s Galileo orbiter. The probe penetrated 200 km into Jupiter’s atmosphere and lasted for 58 minutes before being destroyed.

Fact 42. Jupiter’s magnetic field extends up to 600,000 to 2 million miles towards the Sun. This immense magnetic field creates some spectacular aurorae at its poles.

“One of Jupiter’s moon — Io — is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.”

Quick facts about Jupiter

Date of DiscoveryUnknown
Discovered byKnown by the Antients
Mean Orbit Velocity29,205 mph (0.438 x Earth)
Equatorial Radius43,440.7 miles
Equatorial Circumference272,945.9 miles
Volume343,382,767,518,322 cubic miles
Mass1,898,130,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg (317.828 x Earth)
Density1.326 g/cm cube (0.241 x Earth)
Surface Area23,713,907,537 square miles (120.414 x Earth)
Surface Gravity81.3 ft/s square
Escape Velocity134,664 mph
Atmospheric ConstituentsHydrogen, Helium and others
Effective temperature-148 degree Celcius