The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter is the largest of the system in which we live. If we put the rest of the planets together, their mass would not reach even half that of the gas giant.
Currently, Earth has sent an “ambassador” to Jupiter: It’s the Juno orbiter. which it has been exploring since 2016. This unmanned probe, which is part of NASA’s New Frontiers program to analyze space, is our observer in that area.
What do we know about Jupiter?
- We already know that it is the largest planet in the Solar System: eleven Earths fit on its equator, according to NASA.
- It orbits 778 million kilometers from the Sun.
- It rotates once every 10 hours (a Jovian day), but it takes about 12 Earth years to complete one orbit around the Sun (a Jovian year).
- As a gas giant, it does not have a surface similar to that of our planet. Nor can it support life as we know it.
- Its atmosphere consists mainly of hydrogen and helium.
- And it has 92 confirmed moons, or rocks are around it: the figure is from this year, after the discovery of 12 new ones. It is said that that there are more than 600, but Jupiter is so big that it is difficult to locate them.
We will delve into this point. What are the major moons of Jupiter?
Jupiter’s most prominent moons
Due to their location, they are divided into interior, Galilean and exterior.
The interior ones are those that orbit closest to the planet, in the inner zone of the rings. They are known as the Amalthea group, and are made up of Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, and Thebe.
The Galileans, all discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, are the four largest on the planet. Their names: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Ganymede is the largest not only of Jupiter, but of the entire Solar System, with a diameter of approximately 5,268 kilometers.
And the outer ones: they are known as irregular moons, so named because their trajectories are eccentric and distant. According to the researchers, they are actually asteroids that have been trapped by Jupiter’s gravitational pull.
In this group, Leda, Himalia, Lisitea, Elara, Ananké, Carmé, Pasífae, Sinope and Calírroe stand out.
Do you want to know more about the gas giant? we leave you This NASA link.