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5 Fun Facts About Jupiter
Image credit: Kevin M. Gill with NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

As the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest (and most massive) planet in our solar system, Jupiter has long fascinated human beings. It is known for its beautiful stripes and swirls (which are actually belts of windswept clouds made up of different materials, including ammonia and water; the colors likely come from the presence of sulfur and phosphorus-containing gases) and its famous Red Spot (more on that below!). Jupiter has 95 moons, including Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. It is the solar system’s oldest planet and yet it has the shortest day of any of the planets. A world of contradictions and fascinating phenomena, there is so much to learn about Jupiter! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fun facts about Jupiter to help you learn more about this amazing planet. Check them out below!

#1 Jupiter Has Rings.

Jupiter has a system of thin rings. The rings are made from small, dark dust particles that are hurled up into orbit by micro-meteor impacts on Jupiter's small inner moons. The rings have to constantly be replenished by dust from the moons to exist and are difficult to see except when they are backlit by the Sun.

#2 Jupiter Has the Shortest Day of All the Planets.

Jupiter, despite being the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in our solar system, has the shortest day of all the planets. In fact, Jupiter’s day (the time it takes for Jupiter to rotate or spin around once) is only about 10 hours long! Not only does Jupiter rotate quickly, but it also spins nearly upright and does not have extreme seasons like other planets do.

#3 Jupiter Has 95 Moons.

Jupiter has 95 moons (and the planet also has many additional small objects in its orbit). The most important moons orbiting Jupiter are actually the first 4 moons to be discovered beyond Earth’s Moon: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These 4 moons are sometimes referred to as the Galilean satellites, because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. German astronomer Simon Marius also observed them around the same time and later proposed their names in 1614.

#4 Jupiter Is More Massive than All the Other Planets Combined.

Jupiter’s mass is calculated at a staggering 1.9 x 1027 kg. To put that in context, Jupiter is over 2x more massive than all of the other planets in our solar system combined. And with a radius of 43,440.7 miles (69,911 kilometers), Jupiter is also 11x wider than Earth!

#5 Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is a Storm.

Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot is actually a giant storm. It is larger than Earth in size and has been raging for hundreds of years.


#6 It Takes Jupiter 12 Years to Orbit the Sun.

Although it is know for its short days, it takes Jupiter approximately 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun. That means Jupiter's year is equivalent to 4,333 Earth days!

Want to learn even more about our solar system? Check out our favorite facts about space or delve into the fascinating world of Saturn!

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