How many satellites does Jupiter have


Outside the asteroid belt is Jupiter, the fifth planet in the solar system. Everything is great about Jupiter. It is so big that all other planets could easily fit into it (our earth alone would fit into it over 1,300 times). It also weighs more than twice that of any other planet. Despite its gigantic size, Jupiter is the fastest rotating planet. It takes less than ten hours to turn around itself.

Jupiter is five times as far from the sun as the earth. That is why it has such a low surface temperature of only around –145C. Every 13 months or so, it comes closer to us and becomes very bright in the night sky.

Jupiter is a gigantic gas ball without a solid surface. It mainly consists of very light gases such as hydrogen and helium. Through the telescope we can see a cloudy atmosphere with colorful belts and dots. The most noticeable phenomenon, the Great Red Spot, is a huge storm, the dimensions of which are many times the size of the earth. It has been raging uninterrupted over Jupiter for over 300 years.

The Voyager spacecraft discovered a faint ring of dust around Jupiter that is more than 100,000 kilometers wide. It is also orbited by the largest of all lunar families (the last count included 63 natural satellites).

Four of them are very large. It was discovered by the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei in 1610. Hundreds of volcanoes cover the surface of the moon Io with orange-yellow sulfur. The moon Europa has a smooth, icy surface that looks like a cracked egg shell. On Ganymede, light and dark spots with gullies and craters can be seen. The surface of Callisto is ancient and littered with numerous craters.

Last modified January 20, 2006

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