The fifth planet from the sun is Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. The gas giant has beautiful banded cloud layers, a set of thin, dusty rings, and the famous Great Red Spot.

Jupiter is the fourth-brightest object in the sky after the sun, the moon and Venus. The name of the planet is derived from the Roman king of the gods.

The Babylonians referred to the giant planet as Marduk, the patron deity of the city of Babylon, while the ancient Greeks referred to Jupiter as a blazing star. According to The Nine Planets, there are other ancient names for Jupiter.

What is Jupiter made of?

According to the European Southern Observatory, Jupiter is more massive than all of the other planets in the solar system combined. According to NASA, the gas giant is 11 times larger than Earth.


According to the agency, Jupiter is a swirling mixture of gases flowing around in three distinct layers at its outer edges. The region is thought to span approximately 44 miles, where the top layer is probably made of ammonia ice, the middle layer is likely made of ammonium hydrosulfide crystals and the innermost layer might be made of water ice and vapor.

The bright banded colors seen on Jupiter's outer surface are likely sulfur and phosphorus-laden gases that rise up from the planet's warmer interior. Because the planet rotates extremely quickly, its outer atmosphere is separated into long belts of brighter and darker material, like a jet stream.

Jupiter has an atmosphere that can last for many years and can extend into its interior. The Great Red Spot is a single storm that has lasted at least 300 years, and according to data from NASA's Juno probe, the storm goes down some 300 miles into the planet's atmosphere.

Close up of Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

This image of Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot and surrounding turbulent zones was captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it performed its 12th close flyby of Jupiter. The color-enhanced image is a combination of three separate images taken on April 1, 2018. (Image credit: Enhanced Image by Gerald Eichstadt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MS)

Scientists think that the Great Red Spot increases its speed and lifespan when certain storms slam into it. Astronomers have found a storm about the size of Texas surrounded by six other maelstroms near the south pole of Jupiter.

According to NASA, Jupiter's jet streams may reach depths of about 2,000 miles. Jupiter has the largest ocean in the solar system because it has the largest atmosphere in which hydrogen gas can be compressed into a liquid.

Jupiter has a magnetic field that is thought to drive a superconductive metal that is created when hydrogen atoms are squeezed off their parent atoms. The planet might have a central core of solid material or a thick, dense soup made mostly of iron and Silicon that could be up to 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

How far is Jupiter from the sun?

NASA says that Jupiter is 484 million miles from the sun. A year on Jupiter lasts 11.86 Earth years.

The shortest day in the solar system is for the planet. Jupiter doesn't experience much seasonal variation because its central axis is tilted 3 degrees.

Have humans explored Jupiter?

According to NASA, Galileo Galilei was the first to make detailed observations of Jupiter, using his telescope in 1610 to see its four largest moons. Humans have launched many probes that have flown past the gas giant.

The Pioneer 10 and 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973, respectively, and studied the asteroid belt and took early photos of Jupiter.

The amazing observational data of Jupiter was taken by the Voyager 1 and 2 probes, which left Earth in 1977 and reached the planet in 1979. Jupiter has a faint and dusty ring system, volcanic activity on its moon Io, and a few previously unknown moons.

Deployment of NASA Galileo and the IUS from the cargo bay of STS-34 Atlantis on October 18, 1989. NASA & JPL & KSC

Deployment of NASA Galileo and the IUS from the cargo bay of STS-34 Atlantis on October 18, 1989. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/KSC)

In December 1995 NASA launched a Jupiter mission called Galileo. Galileo studied Io and Jupiter's icy moon Europa in depth and released a probe that fell into Jupiter's atmosphere and took data on things such as temperature, wind speed and pressure on the planet.

Since July 2016 the agency has had a dedicated Jupiter craft called Juno. Since it passed over the planet's polar regions every 53.5 days, Juno has studied the powerful magnetosphere and bright Auroras.

NASA is building a probe to study the icy moon and its ocean, which many scientists think could be a potential home for life. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission will explore two other large Jupiter moons, Callisto and Ganymede.

How many moons does Jupiter have?

According to NASA, there are 53 named moons of Jupiter, with 26 awaiting official names. The biggest moon in the solar system is Jupiter's, and it is larger than Mercury.

The discoverer of the other Galilean satellites named for them are also huge worlds with their own interesting surprises. Callisto is one of the most heavily cratered objects in the solar system and may have a liquid ocean beneath its ice shell. The frozen outer shell of Europa is much thinner than that of the ocean, meaning it is recycled more often and sports fewer craters. The most volcanically active body in the solar system is bright colored Io.

Could there be life on Jupiter?

Astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan once speculated about the possibility of living organisms staying afloat in Jupiter's atmosphere, but most researchers nowadays don't hold much hope for living organisms

The moon of Jupiter, which is covered in a shell of ice that surrounds an enormous body of liquid water, is one of the most likely places to find extraterrestrial life in the solar system, according to NASA. It may be difficult to land on the frozen world because of the giant ice spikes on its surface.

Europa - Potential Volcanoes on the Seafloor. NASA & JPL-Caltech & Michael Carroll

This illustration depicts scientists' findings about what the interior of Jupiter's moon Europa may look like: an iron core, surrounded by a rocky mantle believed to be in direct contact with a vast, internal ocean. New research and computer modeling show that volcanic activity may have occurred on the seafloor of Jupiter's moon Europa in the recent past – and may still be happening. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Michael Carroll)

Additional resources


C. Cofield was writing on June 28. There is a history of 9 space probes. There is a history of Jupiter probes on

The European Southern Observatory. There is a planet called Jupiter. On April 21, 2022, from public/usa/images/b03

R Margetta was published on October 29th. The first 3D view of the Jupiter atmosphere was offered by NASA. The first 3d view of the Jupiter atmosphere will be offered by NASA.

NASA. June 26, 2019. There is a website about exploration of the moon, called the Solar Exploration System.

NASA. June 26, 2019. Jupiter: Exploration is on the Solar System.

NASA. October 30. Jupiter is in depth.

NASA. There are Jupiter moons. On April 21, 2022, from https://solar

The Nine Planets. There are linguistics facts. On April 21, 2022, from