The Planet Jupiter

Death of a Comet

Jupiter, Shoemaker Levy

“Racing toward Jupiter, doomed Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into 21 icy chunks by May 1994, creating a stream of glowing dots across more than 700,000 miles of space. Each fragment collided with the planet two months later, in fiery displays that raised plumes thousands of miles high and left dark impact scars on the planetʼs face.”
—National Geographic “Other Worlds”

Comet crashes into Jupiter

This is a photograph of Jupiter when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit the planetʼs surface.

Impact Spot on Jupiter

Photo of impact scars on the surface of Jupiter.

Written by Danielle

Hi, I have been studying about the planet Jupiter. Ever wondered about that red spot? Did you know that is actually a giant storm that has been there for 170 years.

Some of my questions about Jupiter:

How far is Jupiter from Earth? From the Sun?

Source: The Solar System
JUPITER Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun. 483 million miles from the sun… Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system. It is a giant ball of gas with a rocky center. No one has ever seen the surface of Jupiter, it is covered with thick clouds. These clouds are white, yellow, tan, orange, and red. Strong winds blow the clouds around. It is freezing cold at the top of the clouds and boiling hot in the center of Jupiter.

One year on Jupiter is as long as 12 years on Earth and one day is almost 10 hours long.


Jupiterʼs Moons

The moon “Io” which revolves around Jupiter… one of many moons known to exist.
Source: Website on Space and Astronomy

Jupiterʼs Moon Count Soars to 52 with Four New Discoveries

The tally of Jovian moons has soared to 52 with the discovery of four small moons added to eight that were previously revealed last week. The total may represent roughly half of all the giant planetʼs satellites larger than 0.62 miles. (1 kilometer).

Included in the latest batch are two rocks estimated to be just 0.62 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter. These are the first Jovian satellites calculated to be less than 2 kilometers. Jupiter has 29 moons that are no more than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide and several more that arenʼt much bigger. These small satellites are thought to be captured asteroids or chunks of larger objects that broke apart, though their exact origins have not been determined. Many of them orbit in a direction opposite the planetʼs rotation.

The Great Red Spot

“The Great Red Spot (above) is a hurricane-like storm that has persisted in the atmosphere of Jupiter for at least 170 years.

Nearly twice the size of Earth, it rotates in a counter clockwise direction about every six days with winds up to 250 miles an hour that can gobble up smaller storms passing nearby.”
Source: Exploring the Solar System, National Geographic, page 29

Which of the 9 planets is closer to the size of Jupiter?


Size of Planets Table



Diameter of Model


4,900 km

5 mm


12,100 km

12 mm


12,800 km

13 mm


6,800 km

7 mm


143,000 km

143 mm


125,000 km

121 mm


51,100 km

51 mm


49,500 km

50 mm


2,300 km

2 mm

Saturn is the second largest planet in our Solar System, next to Jupiter.

Io, Jupiter's moon

What are the names of some of Jupiterʼs moons?

Some of Jupiterʼs Moons
Source: Jupiterʼs Moons

  1. Io discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.

  2. Europa discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.

  3. Ganymede discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.

  4. Callisto discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei

  5. Metis discovered in 1979 by S. Sunnott

  6. Adrastea discovered in 1979 by Jewitt and Danielson

  7. Amalthea discovered in 1892 by E. Barnard

  8. Thebe discovered in 1979 by S. Synnott

  9. Leda discovered in 1974 by C. Kowal

  10. Himalia discovered in 1904 by C. Perrine

  11. Lysithea discovered in 1938 by S. Nicholson

  12. Elara discovered in 1905 by C. Perrine

  13. Ananke discovered in 1951 by S. Nicholson

  14. Carme discovered in 1938 by S. Nicholson

  15. Pasiphae discovered in 1908 by P. Melotte

  16. Sinope discovered in 1914 by S. Nicholson

  17. Callirrhoe discovered in 1999 by Spacewatch Project Minor Planet Center

Jupiter the god

The god Jupiter the planet was named after.

The Ten Planets in Astrology

Planet as defined in Astrology includes all of the seven heavenly bodies which ancient astrologers could see in the sky, plus the three planets discovered since the invention of telescopes. The Planets, listed in order of distance from the Sun (with their Roman/Greek mythical links) are:

  • Mercury - named after Mercurius or Hermes (Messenger of the gods)
  • Venus - named after Venus or Aphrodite (goddess of Love and Beauty)
  • Mars - named after Mars or Ares (god of War)
  • Jupiter - named after Jupiter (Jove), or Zeus (King of gods)
  • Saturn - named after Saturn or Kronos (god of Time)
  • Uranus - named after Uranus or Ouranos (god of Sky)
  • Neptune - named after Neptune or Poseidon (god of Sea)
  • Pluto - named after Pluto or Hades (god of Underworld)

Though the Sun (a Star) and the Moon (a satellite of Planet Earth) are not planets by the usual definition, for the sake of convenience astrologers refer to them as “Planets” too:

Sun - named after Sol or Helios (also associated with Apollo)
Moon - named after Luna or Hecate (also associated with Diana)

In Geocentric (Earth-centered) Astrology, the Earth itself is usually not included in the Planet list because we are living on it and are a part of it. We donʼt see it in the sky. In Heliocentric (Sun-centered) Astrology, the Earth is considered a Planet because the Sun is the point of observation.

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