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This article is about the planet. For the Roman god, 1 Formation and migration
see Jupiter (mythology). For other uses, see Jupiter
Main article: Grand Tack Hypothesis
See also: Formation and evolution of the Solar System
Jupiter is the fth planet from the Sun and the largest
planet in the Solar System. It is a giant planet with Earth and its neighbor planets may have formed from
a mass one-thousandth of that of the Sun, but is two fragments of planets after collisions with Jupiter deand a half times that of all the other planets in the So- stroyed those super-Earths near the Sun. As Jupiter came
lar System combined. Jupiter is a gas giant, along with toward the inner Solar System, in what theorists call the
Saturn (Uranus and Neptune are ice giants). Jupiter Grand Tack Hypothesis, gravitational tugs and pulls ocwas known to astronomers of ancient times.* [11] The curred causing a series of collisions between the superRomans named it after their god Jupiter.* [12] When Earths as their orbits began to overlap.* [15]
viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach an apparent magnitude of 2.94, bright enough to cast shadows,* [13] and Astronomers have discovered nearly 500 planetary sysmaking it on average the third-brightest object in the tems each with multiple planets, and typically these systems include a few planets with masses several times
night sky after the Moon and Venus.
greater than Earth's (super-Earths), orbiting closer to
Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quar- their star than Mercury is to the Sun, and Jupiter-like gas
ter of its mass being helium, although helium only com- giants are also often found close to their star.
prises about a tenth of the number of molecules. It may
also have a rocky core of heavier elements,* [14] but like Jupiter moving out of the inner Solar System would
the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a well-dened solid have allowed the formation of inner planets, including
surface. Because of its rapid rotation, the planet's shape Earth. [16]
is that of an oblate spheroid (it has a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator). The outer atmosphere
is visibly segregated into several bands at dierent lat- 2 Structure
itudes, 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 Jupiter is composed primarily of gaseous and liquid
least the 17th century when it was rst seen by telescope. matter. It is the largest of the four giant planets in the
Surrounding Jupiter is a faint planetary ring system and a Solar System and hence its largest planet. It has a diamemi) at its equator. The density
powerful magnetosphere. Jupiter has at least 67 moons, ter of 142,984 km (88,846
second highest of the giant
including the four large Galilean moons discovered by
the four terrestrial planGalileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these,
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 yby missions and later by the Galileo orbiter.
The most recent probe to visit Jupiter was the Plutobound 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.

2.1 Composition
Jupiter's upper atmosphere is composed of about 88
92% hydrogen and 812% helium by percent volume of
gas molecules. Because a helium atom has about four
times as much mass as a hydrogen atom, the composition
changes when described as the proportion of mass contributed by dierent atoms. Thus, Jupiter's atmosphere is
approximately 75% hydrogen and 24% helium by mass,
with the remaining one percent of the mass consisting
of other elements. The interior contains denser materials, such that the distribution is roughly 71% hydrogen,
24% helium and 5% other elements by mass. The atmosphere contains trace amounts of methane, water vapor,


ammonia, and silicon-based compounds. There are also

traces of carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulde, neon, oxygen,
phosphine, and sulfur. The outermost layer of the atmosphere contains crystals of frozen ammonia.* [17]* [18]
Through infrared and ultraviolet measurements, trace
amounts of benzene and other hydrocarbons have also
been found.* [19]

the Sun,* [24] and its mass is 0.001 times the mass of the
Sun, so the density of the two bodies is similar.* [25] A
"Jupiter mass" (M J or M Jup ) is often used as a unit to
describe masses of other objects, particularly extrasolar
planets and brown dwarfs. So, for example, the extrasolar
planet HD 209458 b has a mass of 0.69 M J , while Kappa
Andromedae b has a mass of 12.8 M J .* [26]

The atmospheric proportions of hydrogen and helium are

close to the theoretical composition of the primordial
solar nebula. Neon in the upper atmosphere only consists
of 20 parts per million by mass, which is about a tenth as
abundant as in the Sun.* [20] Helium is also depleted, to
about 80% of the Sun's helium composition. This depletion is a result of precipitation of these elements into the
interior of the planet.* [21]

Theoretical models indicate that if Jupiter had much more

mass than it does at present, it would shrink.* [27] For
small changes in mass, the radius would not change appreciably, and above about 500 M (1.6 Jupiter masses)* [27]
the interior would become so much more compressed under the increased pressure that its volume would decrease
despite the increasing amount of matter. As a result,
Jupiter is thought to have about as large a diameter as
a planet of its composition and evolutionary history can
achieve.* [28] The process of further shrinkage with increasing mass would continue until appreciable stellar ignition is achieved as in high-mass brown dwarfs having
around 50 Jupiter masses.* [29]

Based on spectroscopy, Saturn is thought to be similar in composition to Jupiter, but the other giant planets Uranus and Neptune have relatively much less hydrogen and helium.* [22] Because of the lack of atmospheric entry probes, high-quality abundance numbers of
the heavier elements are lacking for the outer planets be- Although Jupiter would need to be about 75 times as
yond Jupiter.
massive to fuse hydrogen and become a star, the smallest red dwarf is only about 30 percent larger in radius
than Jupiter.* [30]* [31] Despite this, Jupiter still radiates
2.2 Mass and size
more heat than it receives from the Sun; the amount of
heat produced inside it is similar to the total solar radiation it receives.* [32] This additional heat is generated by
the KelvinHelmholtz mechanism through contraction.
This process causes Jupiter to shrink by about 2 cm each
year.* [33] When it was rst formed, Jupiter was much
hotter and was about twice its current diameter.* [34]

2.3 Internal structure

Jupiter's diameter is one order of magnitude smaller (0.10045)

than the Sun, and one order of magnitude larger (10.9733)
than the Earth. The Great Red Spot is roughly the same size as
the Earth.

Jupiter's mass is 2.5 times that of all the other planets in

the Solar System combinedthis is so massive that its
barycenter with the Sun lies above the Sun's surface at
1.068 solar radii from the Sun's center. Although with
a diameter 11 times that of Earth, it is much larger, it
is considerably less dense. Jupiter's volume is that of
about 1,321 Earths, but it is only 318 times as massive.* [4]* [23] Jupiter's radius is about 1/10 the radius of

Jupiter is thought to consist of a dense core with a mixture

of elements, a surrounding layer of liquid metallic hydrogen with some helium, and an outer layer predominantly
of molecular hydrogen.* [33] Beyond this basic outline,
there is still considerable uncertainty. The core is often
described as rocky, but its detailed composition is unknown, as are the properties of materials at the temperatures and pressures of those depths (see below). In 1997,
the existence of the core was suggested by gravitational
measurements,* [33] indicating a mass of from 12 to 45
times the Earth's mass or roughly 4%14% of the total
mass of Jupiter.* [32]* [35] The presence of a core during
at least part of Jupiter's history is suggested by models of
planetary formation that require the formation of a rocky
or icy core massive enough to collect its bulk of hydrogen and helium from the protosolar nebula. Assuming it
did exist, it may have shrunk as convection currents of
hot liquid metallic hydrogen mixed with the molten core
and carried its contents to higher levels in the planetary
interior. A core may now be entirely absent, as gravitational measurements are not yet precise enough to rule
that possibility out entirely.* [33]* [36]


Cloud layers

The uncertainty of the models is tied to the error margin

in hitherto measured parameters: one of the rotational
coecients (J6 ) used to describe the planet's gravitational
moment, Jupiter's equatorial radius, and its temperature
at 1 bar pressure. The Juno mission, which launched in
August 2011, is expected to better constrain the values
of these parameters, and thereby make progress on the
problem of the core.* [37]

lar System, spanning over 5,000 km (3,107 mi) in altitude.* [42]* [43] As Jupiter has no surface, the base of its
atmosphere is usually considered to be the point at which
atmospheric pressure is equal to 1 MPa (10 bar), or ten
times surface pressure on Earth.* [42]

3.1 Cloud layers

The core region is surrounded by dense metallic hydrogen, which extends outward to about 78% of the radius of the planet.* [32] Rain-like droplets of helium and
neon precipitate downward through this layer, depleting the abundance of these elements in the upper atmosphere.* [21]* [38]
Above the layer of metallic hydrogen lies a transparent
interior atmosphere of hydrogen. At this depth, the temperature is above the critical temperature, which for hydrogen is only 33 K.* [39] In this state, there are no distinct liquid and gas phaseshydrogen is said to be in a
supercritical uid state. It is convenient to treat hydrogen as gas in the upper layer extending downward from
the cloud layer to a depth of about 1,000 km,* [32] and
as liquid in deeper layers. Physically, there is no clear
boundarythe gas smoothly becomes hotter and denser
as one descends.* [40]* [41]
The temperature and pressure inside Jupiter increase
steadily toward the core, due to the KelvinHelmholtz
mechanism. At the surfacepressure level of 10 bars,
the temperature is around 340 K (67 C; 152 F). At
the phase transition region where hydrogenheated beyond its critical pointbecomes metallic, it is believed
the temperature is 10,000 K (9,700 C; 17,500 F) and
the pressure is 200 GPa. The temperature at the core
boundary is estimated to be 36,000 K (35,700 C; 64,300
F) and the interior pressure is roughly 3,0004,500
GPa.* [32]

This view of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and its surroundings was
obtained by Voyager 1 on February 25, 1979, when the spacecraft was 9.2 million km (5.7 million mi) from Jupiter. The white
oval storm directly below the Great Red Spot is approximately the
same diameter as Earth.

Jupiter is perpetually covered with clouds composed of

ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulde.
The clouds are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of dierent latitudes, known as tropical regions. These are sub-divided into lighter-hued zones
and darker belts. The interactions of these conicting
circulation patterns cause storms and turbulence. Wind
speeds of 100 m/s (360 km/h) are common in zonal
jets.* [44] The zones have been observed to vary in width,
color and intensity from year to year, but they have remained suciently stable for astronomers to give them
identifying designations.* [23]

This cut-away illustrates a model of the interior of Jupiter, with a

rocky core overlaid by a deep layer of liquid metallic hydrogen.


Main article: Atmosphere of Jupiter

This looping animation shows the movement of Jupiter's counterrotating cloud bands. In this image, the planet's exterior is
mapped onto a cylindrical projection. Animation at larger
widths: 720 pixels, 1799 pixels.

The cloud layer is only about 50 km (31 mi) deep, and

Jupiter has the largest planetary atmosphere in the So- consists of at least two decks of clouds: a thick lower


deck and a thin clearer region. There may also be a

thin layer of water clouds underlying the ammonia layer,
as evidenced by ashes of lightning detected in the atmosphere of Jupiter. This is caused by water's polarity,
which makes it capable of creating the charge separation
needed to produce lightning.* [32] These electrical discharges can be up to a thousand times as powerful as lightning on the Earth.* [45] The water clouds can form thunderstorms driven by the heat rising from the interior.* [46]
The orange and brown coloration in the clouds of Jupiter
are caused by upwelling compounds that change color
when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the
Sun. The exact makeup remains uncertain, but the substances are believed to be phosphorus, sulfur or possibly hydrocarbons.* [32]* [47] These colorful compounds,
known as chromophores, mix with the warmer, lower
deck of clouds. The zones are formed when rising
convection cells form crystallizing ammonia that masks
out these lower clouds from view.* [48]
Time-lapse sequence (over 1 month) from the approach of
Voyager 1 to Jupiter, showing the motion of atmospheric bands,

Jupiter's low axial tilt means that the poles constantly reand circulation of the Great Red Spot. Full size video here
ceive less solar radiation than at the planet's equatorial
region. Convection within the interior of the planet transports more energy to the poles, balancing out the temper- to contain two or three planets of Earth's diameter.* [58]
atures at the cloud layer.* [23]
The maximum altitude of this storm is about 8 km (5 mi)
above the surrounding cloudtops.* [59]


Great Red Spot and other vortices

Storms such as this are common within the turbulent

atmospheres of giant planets. Jupiter also has white
ovals and brown ovals, which are lesser unnamed storms.
White ovals tend to consist of relatively cool clouds within
the upper atmosphere. Brown ovals are warmer and located within thenormal cloud layer. Such storms can
last as little as a few hours or stretch on for centuries.
Even before Voyager proved that the feature was a storm,
there was strong evidence that the spot could not be associated with any deeper feature on the planet's surface,
as the Spot rotates dierentially with respect to the rest
of the atmosphere, sometimes faster and sometimes more

Jupiter Great Red Spot is decreasing in size (May 15,

2014).* [49]

In 2000, an atmospheric feature formed in the southern hemisphere that is similar in appearance to the Great
Red Spot, but smaller. This was created when several
smaller, white oval-shaped storms merged to form a single featurethese three smaller white ovals were rst observed in 1938. The merged feature was named Oval BA,
and has been nicknamed Red Spot Junior. It has since
increased in intensity and changed color from white to
red.* [60]* [61]* [62]

The best known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot,

a persistent anticyclonic storm that is larger than Earth,
located 22 south of the equator. It is known to have
been in existence since at least 1831,* [50] and possibly
since 1665.* [51]* [52] Images by the Hubble Space Telescope have shown as many as two red spotsadjacent to the Great Red Spot.* [53]* [54] The storm is large
enough to be visible through Earth-based telescopes with
an aperture of 12 cm or larger.* [55] Mathematical models 4 Planetary rings
suggest that the storm is stable and may be a permanent
feature of the planet.* [56]
Main article: Rings of Jupiter

The oval object rotates counterclockwise, with a period

of about six days.* [57] The Great Red Spot's dimensions Jupiter has a faint planetary ring system composed of
are 2440,000 km 1214,000 km. It is large enough three main segments: an inner torus of particles known

the liquid metallic hydrogen core. The volcanoes on the
moon Io emit large amounts of sulfur dioxide forming
a gas torus along the moon's orbit. The gas is ionized
in the magnetosphere producing sulfur and oxygen ions.
They, together with hydrogen ions originating from the
atmosphere of Jupiter, form a plasma sheet in Jupiter's
equatorial plane. The plasma in the sheet co-rotates
with the planet causing deformation of the dipole magnetic eld into that of magnetodisk. Electrons within the
plasma sheet generate a strong radio signature that produces bursts in the range of 0.630 MHz.* [66]

The rings of Jupiter

as the halo, a relatively bright main ring, and an outer

gossamer ring.* [63] These rings appear to be made of
dust, rather than ice as with Saturn's rings.* [32] The main
ring is probably made of material ejected from the satellites Adrastea and Metis. Material that would normally
fall back to the moon is pulled into Jupiter because of its
strong gravitational inuence. The orbit of the material
veers towards Jupiter and new material is added by additional impacts.* [64] In a similar way, the moons Thebe
and Amalthea probably produce the two distinct components of the dusty gossamer ring.* [64] There is also evidence of a rocky ring strung along Amalthea's orbit which
may consist of collisional debris from that moon.* [65]


At about 75 Jupiter radii from the planet, the interaction of the magnetosphere with the solar wind generates a bow shock. Surrounding Jupiter's magnetosphere is a magnetopause, located at the inner edge of a
magnetosheatha region between it and the bow shock.
The solar wind interacts with these regions, elongating
the magnetosphere on Jupiter's lee side and extending it
outward until it nearly reaches the orbit of Saturn. The
four largest moons of Jupiter all orbit within the magnetosphere, which protects them from the solar wind.* [32]
The magnetosphere of Jupiter is responsible for intense
episodes of radio emission from the planet's polar regions. Volcanic activity on the Jovian moon Io (see below) injects gas into Jupiter's magnetosphere, producing
a torus of particles about the planet. As Io moves through
this torus, the interaction generates Alfvn waves that
carry ionized matter into the polar regions of Jupiter. As
a result, radio waves are generated through a cyclotron
maser mechanism, and the energy is transmitted out along
a cone-shaped surface. When the Earth intersects this
cone, the radio emissions from Jupiter can exceed the solar radio output.* [67]

Main article: Magnetosphere of Jupiter

Jupiter's magnetic eld is 14 times as strong as the

6 Orbit and rotation

Jupiter is the only planet that has a barycenter with the
Sun that lies outside the volume of the Sun, though by
only 7% of the Sun's radius.* [68] The average distance
between Jupiter and the Sun is 778 million km (about
5.2 times the average distance from the Earth to the Sun,
or 5.2 AU) and it completes an orbit every 11.86 years.
This is two-fths the orbital period of Saturn, forming
a 5:2 orbital resonance between the two largest planets
in the Solar System.* [69] The elliptical orbit of Jupiter
Aurora on Jupiter. Three bright dots are created by magnetic ux is inclined 1.31 compared to the Earth. Because of
tubes that connect to the Jovian moons Io (on the left), Ganymede an eccentricity of 0.048, the distance from Jupiter and
(on the bottom) and Europa (also on the bottom). In addition, the the Sun varies by 75 million km between perihelion and
very bright almost circular region, called the main oval, and the aphelion, or the nearest and most distant points of the
fainter polar aurora can be seen.
planet along the orbital path respectively.
Earth's, ranging from 4.2 gauss (0.42 mT) at the equator
to 1014 gauss (1.01.4 mT) at the poles, making it the
strongest in the Solar System (except for sunspots).* [48]
This eld is believed to be generated by eddy currents
swirling movements of conducting materialswithin

The axial tilt of Jupiter is relatively small: only 3.13.

As a result, it does not experience signicant seasonal changes, in contrast to, for example, Earth and
Mars.* [70]
Jupiter's rotation is the fastest of all the Solar System's


Conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon

Jupiter (red) completes one orbit of the Sun (center) for every
11.86 orbits of the Earth (blue)

planets, completing a rotation on its axis in slightly less

than ten hours; this creates an equatorial bulge easily seen
through an Earth-based amateur telescope. The planet is
shaped as an oblate spheroid, meaning that the diameter
across its equator is longer than the diameter measured The retrograde motion of an outer planet is caused by its relative
between its poles. On Jupiter, the equatorial diameter is location with respect to the Earth.
9,275 km (5,763 mi) longer than the diameter measured
through the poles.* [41]
Sun, a duration called the synodic period. As it does
Because Jupiter is not a solid body, its upper atmosphere so, Jupiter appears to undergo retrograde motion with reundergoes dierential rotation. The rotation of Jupiter's spect to the background stars. That is, for a period Jupiter
polar atmosphere is about 5 minutes longer than that seems to move backward in the night sky, performing a
of the equatorial atmosphere; three systems are used as looping motion.
frames of reference, particularly when graphing the motion of atmospheric features. System I applies from the Jupiter's 12-year orbital period corresponds to the dozen
latitudes 10 N to 10 S; its period is the planet's shortest, astrological signs of the zodiac, and may have been the
at 9h 50m 30.0s. System II applies at all latitudes north historical origin of the signs. [23]
and south of these; its period is 9h 55m 40.6s. System III Because the orbit of Jupiter is outside the Earth's, the
was rst dened by radio astronomers, and corresponds phase angle of Jupiter as viewed from the Earth never
to the rotation of the planet's magnetosphere; its period exceeds 11.5. That is, the planet always appears nearly
is Jupiter's ocial rotation.* [71]
fully illuminated when viewed through Earth-based telescopes. It was only during spacecraft missions to Jupiter
that crescent views of the planet were obtained.* [72] A
small telescope will usually show Jupiter's four Galilean
7 Observation
moons and the prominent cloud belts across Jupiter's
[73] A large telescope will show Jupiter's
Jupiter is usually the fourth brightest object in the sky
when it faces the Earth.
(after the Sun, the Moon and Venus); [48] at times Mars
appears brighter than Jupiter. Depending on Jupiter's
position with respect to the Earth, it can vary in visual
magnitude from as bright as 2.9 at opposition down to 8 Research and exploration
1.6 during conjunction with the Sun. The angular diameter of Jupiter likewise varies from 50.1 to 29.8 arc
8.1 Pre-telescopic research
seconds.* [4] Favorable oppositions occur when Jupiter is
passing through perihelion, an event that occurs once per The observation of Jupiter dates back to the Babylonian
astronomers of the 7th or 8th century BC.* [74] The ChiEarth overtakes Jupiter every 398.9 days as it orbits the nese historian of astronomy, Xi Zezong, has claimed that


Ground-based telescope research


Model in the Almagest of the longitudinal motion of Jupiter ( )

relative to the Earth ( ).

Gan De, a Chinese astronomer, made the discovery of

one of Jupiter's moons in 362 BC with the unaided eye.
If accurate, this would predate Galileo's discovery by
nearly two millennia.* [75]* [76] In his 2nd century work
the Almagest, the Hellenistic astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus constructed a geocentric planetary model based on
deferents and epicycles to explain Jupiter's motion relative to the Earth, giving its orbital period around the Earth
as 4332.38 days, or 11.86 years.* [77] In 499, Aryabhata,
a mathematicianastronomer from the classical age of
Indian mathematics and astronomy, also used a geocentric model to estimate Jupiter's period as 4332.2722 days,
or 11.86 years.* [78]


Ground-based telescope research

In 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered the four largest moons

of Jupiter (now known as the Galilean moons) using a
telescope; thought to be the rst telescopic observation
of moons other than Earth's. One day after Galileo,
Simon Marius independently discovered moons around
Jupiter, though he didnt publish his discovery in a
book until 1614.* [79] It was Mariuss names for the
four major moons, however, that stuck Io, Europa,
Ganymede and Callisto. These ndings were also the
rst discovery of celestial motion not apparently centered on the Earth. The discovery was a major point
in favor of Copernicus' heliocentric theory of the motions of the planets; Galileo's outspoken support of the
Copernican theory placed him under the threat of the
Inquisition.* [80]
During the 1660s, Cassini used a new telescope to discover spots and colorful bands on Jupiter and observed
that the planet appeared oblate; that is, attened at the
poles. He was also able to estimate the rotation period of
the planet.* [18] In 1690 Cassini noticed that the atmosphere undergoes dierential rotation.* [32]

False-color detail of Jupiter's atmosphere, imaged by Voyager 1,

showing the Great Red Spot and a passing white oval.

The Great Red Spot, a prominent oval-shaped feature in

the southern hemisphere of Jupiter, may have been observed as early as 1664 by Robert Hooke and in 1665 by
Giovanni Cassini, although this is disputed. The pharmacist Heinrich Schwabe produced the earliest known drawing to show details of the Great Red Spot in 1831.* [81]
The Red Spot was reportedly lost from sight on several
occasions between 1665 and 1708 before becoming quite
conspicuous in 1878. It was recorded as fading again in
1883 and at the start of the 20th century.* [82]
Both Giovanni Borelli and Cassini made careful tables
of the motions of the Jovian moons, allowing predictions of the times when the moons would pass before or
behind the planet. By the 1670s, it was observed that
when Jupiter was on the opposite side of the Sun from
the Earth, these events would occur about 17 minutes
later than expected. Ole Rmer deduced that sight is not
instantaneous (a conclusion that Cassini had earlier rejected),* [18] and this timing discrepancy was used to estimate the speed of light.* [83]
In 1892, E. E. Barnard observed a fth satellite of Jupiter
with the 36-inch (910 mm) refractor at Lick Observatory
in California. The discovery of this relatively small object, a testament to his keen eyesight, quickly made him
famous. This moon was later named Amalthea.* [84] It
was the last planetary moon to be discovered directly by
visual observation.* [85]
In 1932, Rupert Wildt identied absorption bands of ammonia and methane in the spectra of Jupiter.* [86]
Three long-lived anticyclonic features termed white ovals
were observed in 1938. For several decades they remained as separate features in the atmosphere, sometimes
approaching each other but never merging. Finally, two
of the ovals merged in 1998, then absorbed the third in
2000, becoming Oval BA.* [87]


rst spacecraft to get close enough to Jupiter to send back

revelations about the properties and phenomena of the
Solar System's largest planet.* [91]* [92] Flights to other
planets within the Solar System are accomplished at a cost
in energy, which is described by the net change in velocity of the spacecraft, or delta-v. Entering a Hohmann
transfer orbit from Earth to Jupiter from low Earth orbit requires a delta-v of 6.3 km/s* [93] which is comparable to the 9.7 km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth
orbit.* [94] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary
ybys can be used to reduce the energy required to reach
Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a signicantly longer ight
duration.* [95]
8.4.1 Flyby missions

Infrared image of Jupiter taken by ESO's Very Large Telescope.


Radiotelescope research

Beginning in 1973, several spacecraft have performed

planetary yby maneuvers that brought them within observation range of Jupiter. The Pioneer missions obtained the rst close-up images of Jupiter's atmosphere
and several of its moons. They discovered that the radiation elds near the planet were much stronger than expected, but both spacecraft managed to survive in that
environment. The trajectories of these spacecraft were
used to rene the mass estimates of the Jovian system.
Radio occultations by the planet resulted in better measurements of Jupiter's diameter and the amount of polar
attening.* [23]* [97]

In 1955, Bernard Burke and Kenneth Franklin detected

bursts of radio signals coming from Jupiter at 22.2
MHz.* [32] The period of these bursts matched the rotation of the planet, and they were also able to use this
information to rene the rotation rate. Radio bursts from
Jupiter were found to come in two forms: long bursts (or
L-bursts) lasting up to several seconds, and short bursts Six years later, the Voyager missions vastly improved
(or S-bursts) that had a duration of less than a hundredth the understanding of the Galilean moons and discovered
of a second.* [88]
Jupiter's rings. They also conrmed that the Great Red
Scientists discovered that there were three forms of radio Spot was anticyclonic. Comparison of images showed
that the Red Spot had changed hue since the Pioneer missignals transmitted from Jupiter.
sions, turning from orange to dark brown. A torus of
ionized atoms was discovered along Io's orbital path, and
Decametric radio bursts (with a wavelength of tens
volcanoes were found on the moon's surface, some in the
of meters) vary with the rotation of Jupiter, and are
process of erupting. As the spacecraft passed behind the
inuenced by interaction of Io with Jupiter's magplanet, it observed ashes of lightning in the night side
netic eld.* [89]
atmosphere.* [17]* [23]
Decimetric radio emission (with wavelengths measured in centimeters) was rst observed by Frank
Drake and Hein Hvatum in 1959.* [32] The origin of this signal was from a torus-shaped belt
around Jupiter's equator. This signal is caused by
cyclotron radiation from electrons that are accelerated in Jupiter's magnetic eld.* [90]

The next mission to encounter Jupiter, the Ulysses solar

probe, performed a yby maneuver to attain a polar orbit around the Sun. During this pass the spacecraft conducted studies on Jupiter's magnetosphere. Since Ulysses
has no cameras, no images were taken. A second yby
six years later was at a much greater distance.* [96]

In 2000, the Cassini probe, en route to Saturn, ew by

Thermal radiation is produced by heat in the atmo- Jupiter and provided some of the highest-resolution images ever made of the planet. On December 19, 2000, the
sphere of Jupiter.* [32]
spacecraft captured an image of the moon Himalia, but
the resolution was too low to show surface details.* [98]


Exploration with space probes

The New Horizons probe, en route to Pluto, ew by

Jupiter for gravity assist. Its closest approach was
Main article: Exploration of Jupiter
on February 28, 2007.* [99] The probe's cameras measured plasma output from volcanoes on Io and studied
Since 1973 a number of automated spacecraft have vis- all four Galilean moons in detail, as well as making
ited Jupiter, most notably the Pioneer 10 space probe, the long-distance observations of the outer moons Himalia


Exploration with space probes

conducting multiple ybys of all the Galilean moons and
Amalthea. The spacecraft also witnessed the impact of
Comet ShoemakerLevy 9 as it approached Jupiter in
1994, giving a unique vantage point for the event. While
the information gained about the Jovian system from
Galileo was extensive, its originally designed capacity was
limited by the failed deployment of its high-gain radio
transmitting antenna.* [103]

A 340-kilogram titanium atmospheric probe was released

from the spacecraft in July 1995, entering Jupiter's atmosphere on December 7.* [28] It parachuted through
150 km (93 mi) of the atmosphere at speed of about
2,575 km/h (1600 mph)* [28] and collected data for 57.6
minutes before it was crushed by the pressure (about 23
times Earth normal, at a temperature of 153 C).* [104]
It would have melted thereafter, and possibly vaporized.
The Galileo orbiter itself experienced a more rapid version of the same fate when it was deliberately steered into
Cassini views Jupiter and Io on January 1, 2001
the planet on September 21, 2003, at a speed of over 50
km/s, to avoid any possibility of it crashing into and posand Elara.* [100] Imaging of the Jovian system began sibly contaminating Europaa moon which has been hySeptember 4, 2006.* [101]* [102]
pothesized to have the possibility of harboring life.* [103]
Data from this mission revealed that hydrogen composes
up to 90% of Jupiter's atmosphere.* [28] The temperatures data recorded was more than 300 C (>570 F)
and the windspeed measured more than 644 kmph (>400
Main article: Galileo (spacecraft)
So far the only spacecraft to orbit Jupiter is the Galileo or- mph) before the probes vapourised.* [28]

Galileo mission

8.4.3 Future probes

NASA has a mission underway to study Jupiter in detail
from a polar orbit. Named Juno, the spacecraft launched
in August 2011, and will arrive in late 2016.* [105]
The next planned mission to the Jovian system will be
the European Space Agency's Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE), due to launch in 2022,* [106] followed
by NASA's Europa Clipper mission in 2025.
8.4.4 Canceled missions
Because of the possibility of subsurface liquid oceans
on Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto,
there has been great interest in studying the icy moons
in detail. Funding diculties have delayed progress.
NASA's JIMO (Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter) was cancelled in 2005.* [107] A subsequent proposal for a joint
NASA/ESA mission, called EJSM/Laplace, was developed with a provisional launch date around 2020.
EJSM/Laplace would have consisted of the NASAled Jupiter Europa Orbiter, and the ESA-led Jupiter
Ganymede Orbiter.* [108] However by April 2011, ESA
had formally ended the partnership citing budget issues
at NASA and the consequences on the mission timetable.
Jupiter as seen by the space probe Cassini.
Instead ESA planned to go ahead with a Europeanbiter, which went into orbit around Jupiter on December only mission to compete in its L1 Cosmic Vision selec7, 1995.* [28] It orbited the planet for over seven years, tion.* [109]




known as a Laplace resonance; for every four orbits that

Io makes around Jupiter, Europa makes exactly two orbits
and Ganymede makes exactly one. This resonance causes
the gravitational eects of the three large moons to distort their orbits into elliptical shapes, since each moon
receives an extra tug from its neighbors at the same point
in every orbit it makes. The tidal force from Jupiter, on
the other hand, works to circularize their orbits.* [111]
The eccentricity of their orbits causes regular exing of
the three moons' shapes, with Jupiter's gravity stretching
them out as they approach it and allowing them to spring
back to more spherical shapes as they swing away. This
tidal exing heats the moons' interiors by friction. This
is seen most dramatically in the extraordinary volcanic
activity of innermost Io (which is subject to the strongest
tidal forces), and to a lesser degree in the geological youth
of Europa's surface (indicating recent resurfacing of the
moon's exterior).

9.2 Classication of moons

Jupiter with the Galilean moons. Seen from Earth at this point in
their orbits, Europa appears closer to Jupiter than does Io.

Main article: Moons of Jupiter

See also: Timeline of discovery of Solar System planets
and their moons
Jupiter has 67 natural satellites.* [110] Of these, 51 are
less than 10 kilometres in diameter and have only been
discovered since 1975. The four largest moons, visible
from Earth with binoculars on a clear night, known as
the "Galilean moons", are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and

Jupiter's moon Europa.

Before the discoveries of the Voyager missions, Jupiter's

moons were arranged neatly into four groups of four,
based on commonality of their orbital elements. Since
Main article: Galilean moons
The orbits of Io, Europa, and Ganymede, some of then, the large number of new small outer moons has
complicated this picture. There are now thought to be
six main groups, although some are more distinct than


Galilean moons

A basic sub-division is a grouping of the eight inner regular moons, which have nearly circular orbits near the
plane of Jupiter's equator and are believed to have formed
with Jupiter. The remainder of the moons consist of an
The Galilean moons. From left to right, in order of increasing unknown number of small irregular moons with elliptical and inclined orbits, which are believed to be captured
distance from Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto.
asteroids or fragments of captured asteroids. Irregular
the largest satellites in the Solar System, form a pattern moons that belong to a group share similar orbital ele-




ments and thus may have a common origin, perhaps as a 10.1 Impacts
larger moon or captured body that broke up.* [112]* [113]
See also: Comet ShoemakerLevy 9, 2009 Jupiter impact event and 2010 Jupiter impact event
Jupiter has been called the Solar System's vacuum


Interaction with the Solar System

Along with the Sun, the gravitational inuence of Jupiter

has helped shape the Solar System. The orbits of most
of the system's planets lie closer to Jupiter's orbital plane
than the Sun's equatorial plane (Mercury is the only planet
that is closer to the Sun's equator in orbital tilt), the
Kirkwood gaps in the asteroid belt are mostly caused by
Jupiter, and the planet may have been responsible for the
Late Heavy Bombardment of the inner Solar System's
history.* [115]
Hubble image taken on July 23 showing a blemish of about 5,000
miles long left by the 2009 Jupiter impact.* [118]

cleaner,* [119] because of its immense gravity well and

location near the inner Solar System. It receives the
most frequent comet impacts of the Solar System's planets.* [120] It was thought that the planet served to partially shield the inner system from cometary bombardment.* [28] Recent computer simulations suggest that
Jupiter does not cause a net decrease in the number of
comets that pass through the inner Solar System, as its
gravity perturbs their orbits inward in roughly the same
numbers that it accretes or ejects them.* [121] This topic
remains controversial among astronomers, as some believe it draws comets towards Earth from the Kuiper belt
while others believe that Jupiter protects Earth from the
alleged Oort cloud.* [122] Jupiter experiences about 200
times more asteroid and comet impacts than Earth.* [28]

Along with its moons, Jupiter's gravitational eld controls numerous asteroids that have settled into the regions of the Lagrangian points preceding and following
Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun. These are known
as the Trojan asteroids, and are divided into Greek and
Trojan campsto commemorate the Iliad. The rst
of these, 588 Achilles, was discovered by Max Wolf in
1906; since then more than two thousand have been discovered.* [116] The largest is 624 Hektor.

A 1997 survey of historical astronomical drawings suggested that the astronomer Cassini may have recorded an
impact scar in 1690. The survey determined eight other
candidate observations had low or no possibilities of an
impact.* [123] A reball was photographed by Voyager 1
during its Jupiter encounter in March 1979.* [124] During
the period July 16, 1994, to July 22, 1994, over 20 fragments from the comet ShoemakerLevy 9 (SL9, formally
designated D/1993 F2) collided with Jupiter's southern
hemisphere, providing the rst direct observation of a
collision between two Solar System objects. This impact
provided useful data on the composition of Jupiter's atmosphere.* [125]* [126]

Most short-period comets belong to the Jupiter family

dened as comets with semi-major axes smaller than
Jupiter's. Jupiter family comets are believed to form in
the Kuiper belt outside the orbit of Neptune. During close
encounters with Jupiter their orbits are perturbed into a
smaller period and then circularized by regular gravitational interaction with the Sun and Jupiter.* [117]

On July 19, 2009, an impact site was discovered

at approximately 216 degrees longitude in System
2.* [127]* [128] This impact left behind a black spot in
Jupiter's atmosphere, similar in size to Oval BA. Infrared
observation showed a bright spot where the impact took
place, meaning the impact warmed up the lower atmosphere in the area near Jupiter's south pole.* [129]

This diagram shows the Trojan asteroids in Jupiter's orbit, as well

as the main asteroid belt.




A reball, smaller than the previous observed impacts,

was detected on June 3, 2010, by Anthony Wesley, an
amateur astronomer in Australia, and was later discovered to have been captured on video by another amateur
astronomer in the Philippines.* [130] Yet another reball
was seen on August 20, 2010.* [131]
On September 10, 2012, another reball was detected.* [124]* [132]


Possibility of life

Further information: Extraterrestrial life

In 1953, the MillerUrey experiment demonstrated that
a combination of lightning and the chemical compounds
that existed in the atmosphere of a primordial Earth could
form organic compounds (including amino acids) that
could serve as the building blocks of life. The simulated atmosphere included water, methane, ammonia, and
molecular hydrogen; all molecules still found in Jupiter's
atmosphere. Jupiter's atmosphere has a strong vertical air
circulation, which would carry these compounds down
into the lower regions. The higher temperatures within
the interior of the atmosphere break down these chemicals, which would hinder the formation of Earth-like
life.* [133]

Jupiter, woodcut from a 1550 edition of Guido Bonatti's Liber


European vocative compound *Dyu-pter (nominative:

*Dyus-ptr, meaning O Father Sky-God, or O
Father Day-God).* [138] In turn, Jupiter was the counterpart to the mythical Greek Zeus (), also referred
to as Dias (), the planetary name of which is retained
in modern Greek.* [139]
The astronomical symbol for the planet, , is a stylized
representation of the god's lightning bolt. The original
Greek deity Zeus supplies the root zeno-, used to form
some Jupiter-related words, such as zenographic.* [140]

Jovian is the adjectival form of Jupiter. The older adjecIt is considered highly unlikely that there is any Earth-like tival form jovial, employed by astrologers in the Middle
life on Jupiter, because there is only a small amount of Ages, has come to mean happyor merry,moods
water in Jupiter's atmosphere and any possible solid sur- ascribed to Jupiter's astrological inuence. [141]
face deep within Jupiter would be under extreme pres- The Chinese, Korean and Japanese referred to the planet
sures. In 1976, before the Voyager missions, it was as the wood star(Chinese: ; pinyin: mxng),
hypothesized that ammonia- or water-based life could based on the Chinese Five Elements.* [142]* [143]* [144]
evolve in Jupiter's upper atmosphere. This hypothesis is Chinese Taoism personied it as the Fu star. The Greeks
based on the ecology of terrestrial seas, which have sim- called it , Phaethon,blazing.In Vedic astrolple photosynthetic plankton at the top level, sh at lower ogy, Hindu astrologers named the planet after Brihaspati,
levels feeding on these creatures, and marine predators the religious teacher of the gods, and often called it
that hunt the sh.* [134]* [135]
"Guru", which literally means theHeavy One.* [145]
The possible presence of underground oceans on some of In the English language, Thursday is derived fromThor's
Jupiter's moons has led to speculation that the presence day, with Thor in Germanic mythology being the
of life is more likely there.
equivalent Germanic god to the Roman god Jupiter
(mythology). The Roman day Jovis was renamed Thursday.* [146]



The planet Jupiter has been known since ancient times.

It is visible to the naked eye in the night sky and can
occasionally be seen in the daytime when the Sun is
low.* [136] To the Babylonians, this object represented
their god Marduk. They used Jupiter's roughly 12-year
orbit along the ecliptic to dene the constellations of their
zodiac.* [23]* [137]
The Romans named it after Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter, Ipiter) (also called Jove), the principal god of Roman
mythology, whose name comes from the Proto-Indo-

In the Central Asian-Turkic myths, Jupiter called as a

Erendiz/Erentz, which meanseren(?)+yultuz(star)".
There are many theories about meaning oferen. Also,
these peoples calculated the period of the orbit of Jupiter
as 11 years and 300 days. They believed that some social
and natural events connected to Erentz's movements on
the sky.* [147]

13 See also
Hot Jupiter

JovianPlutonian gravitational eect
Jovian (ction)
Juno (spacecraft)
Jupiter in ction
New Horizons
Space exploration



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precise J2000 epoch. Barycenter quantities are given because, in contrast to the planetary centre, they do not experience appreciable changes on a day-to-day basis due to
the motion of the moons.
[2] Refers to the level of 1 bar atmospheric pressure



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Further reading

Bagenal, F.; Dowling, T. E.; McKinnon, W. B., eds.

(2004). Jupiter: The planet, satellites, and magnetosphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 0-521-81808-7.
Beebe, Reta (1997). Jupiter: The Giant Planet (Second ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-731-6.


External links

Hans Lohninger et al. (November 2, 2005).

Jupiter, As Seen By Voyager 1. A Trip into
Space. Virtual Institute of Applied Science. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
Dunn, Tony (2006).The Jovian System. Gravity
Simulator. Retrieved March 9, 2007.A simulation
of the 62 Jovian moons.
Seronik, G.; Ashford, A. R. Chasing the Moons
of Jupiter. Sky & Telescope. Archived from the
original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
Anonymous (May 2, 2007). In Pictures: New
views of Jupiter. BBC News. Retrieved May 2,
Cain, Fraser.Jupiter. Universe Today. Retrieved
April 1, 2008.
Fantastic Flyby of the New Horizons spacecraft
(May 1, 2007.)". NASA. Retrieved May 21, 2008.


Moons of Jupiter articles in Planetary Science Research Discoveries. Planetary Science Research
Discoveries. University of Hawaii, NASA.
June 2010 impact video
Bauer, Amanda; Merrield, Michael (2009).
Jupiter. Sixty Symbols. Brady Haran for the
University of Nottingham.
NASA Solar System Jupiter.
Photographs of Jupiter circa 1920s from the Lick
Observatory Records Digital Archive, UC Santa
Cruz Library's Digital Collections



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