Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System. Jupiter is so large that all the other planets combined do not add up to the mass of Jupiter. All we can see are the tops of the clouds that circle the planet. Chemicals interact with UV from the Sun to create the bands on Jupiter.

Due to its rapid rotation and liquid metallic hydrogen core, Jupiter has an intense magnetic field. As the three inner moons rotate through this magnetic field, they generate electricity causing bright aurora at Jupiter's poles. In the picture at right, the bright spot to the left is caused by Io. This also creates radio signals we can detect on Earth.

Since Jupiter formed just outside the frost line in the early Solar System, it was in position to pick up much of the hydrogen and helium driven out of the inner system by the heat of the Sun. Jupiter's gravity creates pressures high enough in the core for the hydrogen to act like a metal and conduct electricity.
The Great Red Spot is a cyclonic storm larger than Earth. It has existed for centuries. This storm rises 8 km above the surrounding clouds. You can see it in the picture above. The Spot does not rotate at the same rate as Jupiter itself.

Jupiter has 67 moons, but the ones we can see at Henize are those discovered by Galileo. Io is a volcanic moon while Europa has an ocean of liquid water beneath its surface – and possibly life. Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System, and Callisto is a frozen ice ball covered with craters.

  • Jupiter
  • Jupiter Atmosphere
  • Jupiter Planet Views
  • Jupiter Symbol
Orbit Specifications
Semi-major axis 7.79 x 108 km
5.2 AU
Eccentricity 0.049
Orbital Period 11.86 years
Physical Characteristics Specifications
Mean radius 69,900 km
11.209 Earths
Mass 1.9 x 1027 kg
317.8 Earths
Mean density 1.33 g/cm3
Surface gravity 24.79 m/s2
2.53 g
Axial tilt 3.1°