Jupiter is one of the largest planets in our system. It is the 5th planet counting from the Sun, and is three hundred eighteen times bigger than the planet Earth. Jupiter orbits the Sun at a distance of 778, 330, km. it has a diameter of 142, 984 km (Simon, 2010). Unlike the planets like the Earth, Jupiter is composed of gaseous materials, as opposed to solid ones. Ninety percent of the gases making up Jupiter are hydrogen, and ten percent is helium. It has also some traces of water, rock, methane and ammonia. The planet is corresponding to the interior of the Sun; nevertheless, it has a lower temperature. It is also the subsequent superior planet with a path exterior of the Earth and the first one behind the belt of asteroids (Simon, 2010). Jupiter’s orbit is fairly regular. It is approximately 76 million kilometers separate its furthest and closest points from the Sun. With the correct coordinates of the planet, Jupiter can be seen with naked eyes from the Earth. It is the fourth brightest object in the Solar system after the Moon, planet Venus and Mars. It is the only planet that is always bright dark sky. It takes twelve Earth years for the planet to make or complete one revolution round the Sun. Compared to the Earth, Jupiter’s gravitational pull is three times more (Brimner, 2007).
Jupiter got its name from the roman god known as Jupiter, and he was believed to be the god of lightning. It is the fourth brightest planet among the others in the solar system. Since historical times, the planet has been referred to as the wandering star. In the year 1610, Galileo used his primitive telescope and observed this planet. He discovered that it had four moons, and he named them Callisto, Ganymede, Lo and Europa. He also noted that these moons moved back and forth around Jupiter (Simon, 2010). The planet has thirteen moons with Lo, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto being the largest ones. Lo is the most dynamic moon being the most physically active object in the whole Solar system. Its surface is a mixture colors such as yellows, reds and blackish-browns.
This is a product of volcanic explosions on the moon. Jupiter’s magnetic field repeatedly sweeps past Lo and gathers the particles that volcanoes eject into space. It is bigger that the Earth’s one and it is known as the magnetosphere. It is highly flattened after the rapid rotation by the planet. Lo is one of the deepest satellites. Its density and size is almost similar to that of the moon. Exploration has revealed that there are more volcanic happenings in Lo among the Galilean. The internal heat generated by the tidal disturbance in the core of Lo causes volcanic eruptions. The largest volcanic eruption on Lo is known as Pele. When it was discovered, it had a plume of 300 km.
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The temperature on Jupiter ranges from -124 degrees centigrade to about -13 degrees centigrade at lower cloud levels. Localized regions on the planet reach a temperature of 4 degrees centigrade at smaller levels of clouds near its equator. In terms of radiation, Jupiter radiates the heat 4 times more than the heat energy as it gets from the sun (Brimner, 2007). This suggests that Jupiter has an internal source of heat. It is a result of gradual recession of the planet. Jupiter is also known for intense radio emission (Landau, 2007). Compared to other planets, Jupiter spins faster. It takes less than 10 hours to complete a rotation. As a result of this fast rotation, it has developed a bulged shape at the equator and a flattened shape at the poles. This makes the planet 7 % wider at the equator than at the poles.
Europa is the smallest of the Galilean moons and the young one. Astronomers believe that since there are relatively few caters on its surface; it is ought to be the youngest. Its surface is made up of mostly ice, and it is believed to be several kilometers thick. There has also some evidence showing that there have been some eruptions of floods and water. This suggests that there is a substantial amount of water under Europa. Callisto and Ganymede form the outermost Galilean moons. They are not dense, and the research has attributed this to mean that there is a substantial amount of ice.
The most astonishing feature of Jupiter is the Red Spot. This is a giant hurricane like a storm that has been discovered more than three hundred years ago. It is big enough to hold two Earths. Infrared observations made from the Earth show that it is a high pressure zone.
Jupiter is concealed with clouds composed of ammonia crystals and ammonia hydrosulfide. These clouds are situated in the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere, and they are grouped into units called tropical regions. The circulation of these clouds causes turbulence and storm. Jupiter has wind speeds of 360 km/h (Landau, 2007). Winds are very common in zonal jets. The layer of the cloud in Jupiter is approximately fifty km deep, and it consists of two levels of clouds. These include the thin clearer region and the large lower part. Observed from the Earth, Jupiter’s clouds have different colors. Mostly, brown and orange colored clouds are seen. The different coloration is a result the upwelling compounds which change their color when they are exposed to ultraviolet sun rays from the sun. Hydrocarbons, phosphorous and sulfur are some of the materials that make up the clouds (Landau, 2007).
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Unlike Saturn’s complex and intricate ring pattern, Jupiter has an uncomplicated ring system. This is another distinct characteristic of Jupiter planet (Simon, 2010). The rings are known as of an internal halo and Gossamer. Galileo imagery of the rings showed that Gossamer is two rings. His imagery showed that one ring is entrenched with the other and that the rings consist of dust particles. It is composed of an inner ring known as halo and a main one known as the Gossamer. To the Voyager spacecraft, the deepest halo ring is doughnut-shaped, and it ranges from approximately 92 thousand km or 57 thousand miles to about 122 thousand kilometers or 76, 000 miles from Jupiter’s center. The brightest and main ring spreads from the halo borderline out to about 129 thousand kilometers or 80 thousand miles (Brimner, 2007).
Both Gossamer rings are even in nature. The Amalthea Gossamer Ring outspread from the path of Adrastea out to the path of Amalthea at 181 thousand kilometers or 112 thousand miles from Jupiter’s center. The dimmer ring Thebe Gossamer ring spreads from Amalthea orbit out to about Thebe’s orbit at 221 thousand kilometers or 136 thousand miles. Jupiter’s moons and rings have been identified to occur within a deep radioactivity belt of ions and electrons surrounded in the planets or magnetic field (Simon, 2010). These fields and particles consist of the Jovian magnetic environment or the magnetosphere. It extends to three to seven million kilometers towards the sun and overlaps in a form at 750000000 km or 466000000 miles (Brimner, 2007).