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All about Jupiter - Essay Example

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All about Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet of the Solar System. “It is so massive that over a thousand Earths could fit in its volume.” (“Introduction to Jupiter”) Other unique characteristics of Jupiter are its many moons: four enormous moons, its many smaller moons, its rings, its lack of a solid surface and the Great Red Spot found on its surface…
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All about Jupiter
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Download file to see previous pages The most accepted theory is that ice and other solid material combined to form its core. The core increased in size as it attracted other material from other sections of the Solar System resulting in an increased gravitational pull. “Eventually the core’s gravitational pull became strong enough to capture hydrogen and helium, which were abundant in the solar nebula.” (“Jupiter”, p. 200) That is why Jupiter consists primarily of hydrogen and helium. Jupiter rotates very quickly for a planet of its size, with a period of ten hours; it revolves around the sun once every eleven years. Like the other planets Jupiter orbits around the sun in an elliptical orbit. (“Jupiter”) It is approximately 480 million miles from the sun. (Simon) Jupiter is often seen high in the sky, and some its surface features such as its satellites can be seen with a telescope. “From our planet Jupiter looks like a bright star in the night sky.” (Simon, Introduction) It is one of the most luminous objects in the sky next to the Sun, the moon and Venus. Jupiter is considered one of the “gas planets” because its atmosphere is composed primarily of gas. It is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is one of the Jovian (outer) planets; the other Jovian planets are Saturn Uranus and Neptune. There is no solid surface on Jupiter. Jupiter is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. It is similar in composition to the Sun. In 2008, scientists were able to define the surface of Jupiter. “The surface of the planet is defined as the point where the pressure of the atmosphere is 1 bar, which is equal to the atmospheric pressure at Earth’s surface.” (Coffey, “Surface” n.pag) The pressure and temperature increase deep in its atmosphere, resulting in hydrogen being compressed into a liquid. Partially beneath its surface, the hydrogen hardens and becomes capable of conducting electricity. In this metallic layer, electrical currents resulting from the rapid rotation of Jupiter produces its immense magnetic field. In the middle of the planet its enormous pressure may support a solid core of rock that is approximately the size of Earth. Jupiter's upper atmosphere consists largely of hydrogen and a lesser percentage of helium. The interior of the planet is approximately 71% hydrogen, 24% helium and contains minimal amounts of other elements. The atmosphere also includes hints of methane, water vapor, ammonia, and silicon-based compounds. There are also traces of carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulfide, neon, oxygen, phosphate, and sulfur. The outermost layer of the atmosphere contains crystals of frozen ammonia. (“Jupiter” Wikipedia) The temperature on the surface is about -235 degrees F (-150 C). The temperature on Jupiter increases to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit deeper within its atmosphere. The winds continue to blow at approximately 450mph. (Holladay). The atmosphere in Jupiter increases in thickness until it reaches the ocean. The magnetic field in Jupiter is tremendous. Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field of all the planets. Millions of charged particles are confined to Jupiter’s magnetosphere: “the area in which magnetic field lines encircle the planet from pole to pole.” (“Jovian Giant”, para.3) Its rings and moons are entrenched in a radiation belt ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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