Jupiter: The most massive and largest planet in the Solar System
Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun at an average distance of about 778 million kilometres. It is 317 times the mass of Earth or approximately 1/1000th of that of the Sun which might not seem great but it is still massive compared to our Earth.
Jupiter completes 1 full orbit around the Sun every 12 Earth years. It has the fastest rotation of all planets at about 10 hours.
Jupiter has the 2nd most number of moons with 72 known moons. The 4 large moons of Jupiter which are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are known as the Galilean moons as they were first seen and discovered by Galileo. Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System, Europa is a moon with known salty oceans, Io is the most volcanically object in the Solar System and Callisto is the most cratered body in the Solar System.
Jupiter has the strongest and largest magnetosphere of all planets in the Solar System. It is generated by the metallic Hydrogen ocean present in Jupiter. It is the strongest of all planets and stretches up to Saturn’s orbit. The Magnetosphere also acts like a Radiation belt as it traps the high-energetic particles released by the Sun. Whatever comes inside this magnetosphere is harmed with high dosages of radiation.
Jupiter is famous for its polar cyclones and also for its anti-cyclone, the Great Red Spot. These are huge, violent storms on Jupiter. The Great Red Spot is a huge anti-cyclone that has been on the planet for over 300 years from the date when it was first discovered. When it was first discovered, it was as wide as 3 Earths but it is shrinking and now it is just wide enough to fit the Earth.
Jupiter’s extreme gravitational field holds the Asteroid Belt in position. It is the main reason why we do not have asteroids showering on us.
The Galileo space probe explored the planet but it has expired as it had been damaged due to high dosages of radiation. Currently, we have the Juno space probe orbiting and exploring the planet.