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Cloud bands are clearly visible on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and contains nearly 3/4 of all planetary matter.

With no solid surface, Jupiter is a gas and liquid filled giant. Its turbulent belts of clouds circulate parallel to the equator and often contain oval spots which are storm systems with the largest being easily twice the diameter of Earth. The great red spot has been observed for at least 300 years and rotates counter-clockwise with wind speeds of 270 miles per hour [430 km/hr].

Although observed and studied from Earth for centuries it wasn't until the mid 1970's that humans were able to get a closer look with the spacecraft Pioneer 10 and 11. The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were launched with the specific purpose of collecting information and data on the Jovian worlds. In December 1995 the Galileo spacecraft entered into orbit and began it's long-term study of Jupiter and it's moons, a probe was also sent deep into the atmosphere of the gas giant.

Selected radiation astronomy


This movie of changes in Jupiter's cloud patterns is from Voyager 2 acquired in the Violet filter around May 6, 1979. Credit: NASA/JPL.
This is a Voyager 1 image through the violet filter showing Jupiter with its satellite Io visible at lower left. Credit: NASA.
These images show the apparent edge (limb) of the planet Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL Galileo spacecraft.

"This movie [at right] records an eruptive event in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter over a period of 8 Jupiter days. Prior to the event, an undistinguished oval cloud mass cruised through the turbulent atmosphere. The eruption occurs over a very short time at the very center of the cloud. The white eruptive material is swirled about by the internal wind patterns of the cloud. As a result of the eruption, the cloud then becomes a type of feature seen elsewhere on Jupiter known as "spaghetti bowls.""[1]

"As Voyager 2 approached Jupiter in 1979, it took images of the planet at regular intervals. This sequence is made from 8 images taken once every Jupiter rotation period (about 10 hours). These images were acquired in the Violet filter around May 6, 1979. The spacecraft was about 50 million kilometers from Jupiter at that time."[1]

At left is a "Voyager 1 image showing Jupiter with its satellite Io visible at lower left. Jupiter is 140,000 km in diameter and Io is 3600 km across. This image was taken with the narrow angle camera using the violet filter from a distance of 25 million km on 9 February 1979. North is at about 11:00 (Voyager 1, 15672.37)".[2]

"These images [at lower right] show the apparent edge (limb) of the planet Jupiter as seen through both the violet filter (top frame) and an infrared filter (756 nanometers, bottom frame) of the Solid State Imaging (CCD) system aboard NASA's Galileo spacecraft. North is to the top of the picture. A separate haze layer is clearly visible above the northern part of the limb."[3]

"This haze layer becomes less well defined to the south (bottom left). Such a detached haze layer has been seen previously on only one other body with a thick atmosphere: Saturn's satellite Titan. The haze layer cannot be lower in the atmosphere than a pressure of about 10 millibars (mbar), or about 40 kilometers (km) above the tropopause. (The tropopause, where the temperature stops decreasing with height, is at about 100 mbar, 20 km above the tops of the ammonia clouds.) There is some indication of streaks of slightly brighter and darker material running roughly north-south (parallel to the limb) on Jupiter's crescent."[3]

"The images, which show the limb between 60.5 degrees and 61.8 degrees North latitude (planetographic) and near 315 degrees West longitude, were obtained on December 20, 1996 Universal Time. The spacecraft was about 1,286,000 km (18.0 Jovian radii) from the limb of Jupiter and the resolution is about 13 kilometers per picture element."[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Image Processing Laboratory (6 April 2000). PIA02257: Voyager 2 Jupiter Eruption Movie. Pasadena, California USA: NASA/JPL. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  2. Voyager 1 team (9 February 1979). Jupiter, Io - Voyager 1. Greenbelt, Maryland USA: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sue Lavoie (6 March 1998). PIA01195: Hazes near Jupiter's Limb (60 degrees North, 315 degrees West). Pasadena, California USA: NASA/JPL. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
Selected topic

Trojan asteroids

Diagram of Lagrange points is in a system where the primary is much more massive than the secondary. Credit: Cmglee.

Def. "the L4 and L5 Lagrange points of the Sun-Jupiter orbital configuration"[1] are called the Trojan points.

Def. "an asteroid occupying the Trojan points of the Sun-Jupiter system"[2] is called a Trojan asteroid.


  1. (11 December 2010). Trojan point. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  2. (11 December 2010). Trojan asteroid. San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
Selected astronomy

Hydrocarbon astronomy

These images show the distribution of acetylene around the north and south poles of Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC.

"Spectra from the Voyager I IRIS experiment confirm the existence of enhanced infrared emission near Jupiter's north magnetic pole in March 1979."[1]

"Some species previously detected on Jupiter, including CH3D, C2H2, and C2H6, have been observed again near the pole. Newly discovered species, not previously observed on Jupiter, include C2H4, C3H4, and C6H6. All of these species except CH3D appear to have enhanced abundances at the north polar region with respect to midlatitudes."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sang J. Kim, John Caldwell, A.R. Rivolo, R. Wagener, Glenn S. Orton (November 1985). "Infrared polar brightening on Jupiter. III - Spectrometry from the Voyager 1 IRIS experiment". Icarus 64 (2): 233-48. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(85)90088-0. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0019103585900880. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
Selected deity


Zeus and his eagle are the statue. Credit: Marcus Cyron.{{free media}}

In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus (Ancient Greek is the "Father of Gods and men". He is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and Etruscan counterpart is Tinia. Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he is married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort is Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione.

Selected image

Hubble Spies Jupiter Eclipses.jpg

Jupiter appears in pastel colors in this photo because the observation was taken in near-infrared light. Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona).

Selected meteor

Blue vortex

Jupiter is shown in an image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Credit: Kevin M. Gill, JPL-Caltech/NASA, SWRI, MSSS.{{fairuse}}

This image shows distorted bands of clouds near the blue vortex on Jupiter captured by the Juno spacecraft.

Selected moon


This image shows two views of the trailing hemisphere of Jupiter's ice-covered satellite, Europa. The left view shows the approximate natural color appearance of Europa. Credit: NASA/Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., Berlin, Germany.

The image is a composite of two views of Europa. The left view shows the approximate natural color appearance of Europa. The view on the right is a false-color composite version combining violet, green and infrared images to enhance color differences in the predominantly water-ice crust of Europa. Dark brown areas represent rocky material derived from the interior, implanted by impact, or from a combination of interior and exterior sources. Bright plains in the polar areas (top and bottom) are shown in tones of blue to distinguish possibly coarse-grained ice (dark blue) from fine-grained ice (light blue). Long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) long. The bright feature containing a central dark spot in the lower third of the image is a young impact crater some 50 kilometers (31 miles) in diameter. This crater has been provisionally named "Pwyll" for the Celtic god of the underworld. This image was taken on September 7, 1996, at a range of 677,000 kilometers (417,900 miles) by the solid state imaging television camera onboard the Galileo spacecraft during its second orbit around Jupiter.

Selected theory

Sun-Jupiter binary

The Sun-Jupiter binary may serve to establish an upper limit for interstellar cometary capture when three bodies are extremely unequal in mass, such as the Sun, Jupiter, and a third body (potential comet) at a large distance from the binary.[1] The basic problem with a capture scenario even from passage through “a cloud of some 10 million years, or from a medium enveloping the solar system, is the low relative velocity [~0.5 km s-1] required between the solar system and the cometary medium.”[2] The capture of interstellar comets by Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune together cause about as many captures as Jupiter alone.[2]

In a mechanism of chaos assisted capture (CAC), particles such as comets or those of sizes in the range of the irregular moons of Jupiter become entangled in chaotic layers which temporarily “extend the lifetimes of [these] particles within the Hill sphere, thereby providing the breathing space necessary for relatively weak dissipative forces (eg gas-drag) to effect permanent capture.”[3] These objects of the Sun-Jupiter binary system may localize near Jupiter and become satellites, specifically the irregular moons.[3]


  1. MJ Valtonen (February 1983). "On the capture of comets into the Solar System". The Observatory 103 (2): 1-4. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 M. J. Valtonen; K. A. Innanen (April 1982). "The capture of interstellar comets". The Astrophysical Journal 255 (4): 307-15. doi:10.1086/159830. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sergey A. Astakhov and David Farrelly (November 2004). "Capture and escape in the elliptic restricted three?body problem". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 354 (4): 971-9. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.08280.x. http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0408271. Retrieved 2012-03-12.