Origin of the Name
Jupiter is the Roman name for Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology. He overthrew his father Saturn to become king of the gods. He then split the Universe with his brothers Neptune and Pluto.
How much would you weigh on Jupiter?
If you traveled there on vacation, you would be very heavy. If you weigh 70 pounds (32 kg) on Earth, on Jupiter you would weigh 185 pounds (84 kg). This is because Jupiter is much bigger than Earth and so has stronger gravity.
Jupiter is by far the largest planet in our Solar System. It could fit over 1000 Earths inside! Jupiter is a very stormy planet. There are storms found throughout the atmosphere, and most of the storms seem to never end. The many different cloud formations and storms in the atmosphere also make Jupiter a very colorful planet.
Imagine a storm bigger than the Earth that has gone on longer than the United States has existed!
The Great Red Spot, visible in the picture above to the right, is where a giant storm has been raging for at least 300 years. This red spot is also called “The Eye of Jupiter” because of its shape. This storm’s super hurricane winds blow across an area larger than the Earth.
Jupiter’s south pole. Those dots are all storms nearly the size of Earth!
Jupiter is a gas giant because it does not have a solid surface. Don’t be fooled, though, you couldn’t just travel through Jupiter! Its center has so much pressure that the hydrogen actually can become liquid and even solid!
Jupiter’s rings were discovered in 1979 thanks to Voyager 1.
Did you know Jupiter has rings? They are faint and are only visible when Jupiter passes in front of the Sun. This is because the light from the Sun lights them up for us to see here on Earth. There are three rings in all. They are the Gossamer Ring, Main Ring, and Halo Ring.
Jupiter has 50 official moons and 12 provisional (unofficial) moons. The four largest and most well-known were discovered by Galileo in the year 1610. Their names are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Some of the other moons are Adrastea, Ananke, Carme, Elara, Himalia, Leda, Lysithea, Metis, Pasiphae, Sinope, and Thebe.