Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass slightly less than one-thousand of the Sun, but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined.
Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Together, these four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian planets.
The planet was known by astronomers of ancient times and was associated with the mythology and religious beliefs of many cultures.
Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium; it may also have a rocky core of heavier elements. Because of its rapid rotation, Jupiter's shape is that of an oblate spheroid, The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. A prominent result is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding the planet is a faint planetary ring system and a powerful magnetosphere. There are also at least 63 moons, including the four large moons called the Galilean moons that were first discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these moons, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.
Jupiter has been explored on several occasions by robotic spacecraft, most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions and later by the Galileo orbiter. The most recent probe to visit Jupiter was the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft in late February 2007. The probe used the gravity from Jupiter to increase its speed. Future targets for exploration in the Jovian system include the possible ice-covered liquid ocean on the moon Europa
Jupiter is one of the four gas giants; that is, it is not primarily composed of solid matter. It is the largest planet in the Solar System, having a diameter of 142,984 km at its equator.
Jupiter's upper atmosphere is composed of about 88–92% hydrogen and 8–12% helium
The atmospheric proportions of hydrogen and helium are very close to the theoretical composition of the primordial solar nebula. However, neon in the upper atmosphere only consists of 20 parts per million by mass.
Theoretical models indicate that if Jupiter had much more mass than it does at present, the planet would shrink. For small changes in mass.
formation of planets like Jupiter are similar to the processes involved in the formation of multiple star systems.
Although Jupiter would need to be about 75 times as massive to fuse hydrogen and become a star, the smallest red dwarf is only about 30 percent larger in radius than Jupiter. Despite this, Jupiter still radiates more heat than it receives from the Sun. The amount of heat produced inside the planet is nearly equal to the total solar radiation it receives. This additional heat radiation is generated by the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism through adiabatic contraction. This process results in the planet shrinking by about 2 cm each year. When it was first formed, Jupiter was much hotter and was about twice its current diameter
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