Thursday, 13 February 2014

Kings and Thunder

So today we are going to be talking about Jupiter, it's the fifth planet from the Sun and the first gas giant that we have spoke about in this series! Named after the Roman King of the Gods, or the Greek ruler of Olympus, Zeus. After Venus it is the brightest planet in the night sky, and can often be seen on a clear night (and if you look through a telescope you can even see some of it's moons). Jupiter has many moons, with around 65 being the last count. But there are four of these that are kinda famous, they are called the Galilean moons of Jupiter as they were first observed by Galileo. These moons are called Europa, Callisto, Ganymeade and Io, and these moons are named after famous lovers of Zeus! 

In this picture you can see two of the moons, Io and Europa.

Jupiter is a gas giant, compared to the rocky planets like Earth or Mars. This means it is mostly made of Hydrogen and Helium (a little like the Sun), it is the biggest planet in the solar system and weights more than 300 times that of the Earth. Jupiter may have a small rocky core at it's centre but we don't really know yet whether this still exists (it was almost certainly there when the planet began).

 Jupiter has many bands of different colours and you can see the Great Retd spot in this picture.

These different bands of colour that we see on Jupiter can move at different speeds (there is a wee video of it here). The Great Red spot is actually a storm on Jupiter that was first observed in 1665, nobody knows how long it has been raging for, but recently scientists think it may be a permanent feature (and I think Scottish weather is bad..). Jupiter has such a massive influence on the solar system, with it's gravity being the strongest apart from the Sun's. We think it helps protect the inner solar system as it attracts many of the comets and meteors that may have hit us!

Saturn's Rings systems are the famous, but Jupiter also has a ring around it (as shown it above), but we'll talk about these tomorrow!

What do you thing of the King of the Planets?


  1. So glad I've seen your amazing blog! I don't study Astronomy at Uni. But I'm obsessed with it as a hobby! Along with Saturn, Jupiter is one of my favourite planets to observe. I can clearly see the moons through my astronomy binoculars. Every time it's magical! I think we may have to do a collaboration post soon! I'll get my thinking cap on!


    1. Jupiter is stunning to see! It just makes it more real to see it for yourself! That sounds amazing, I'd definitely be up for that!