Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and is the largest of all the planets in the Solar System. Has a diameter of 11 times that of the Earth, a 318-fold mass and a 1300-fold volume. Jupiter is the fourth object in the sky as glow (after the Sun, Moon and Venus, and sometimes Mars).
Jupiter probably has a “core” of solid material in the amount of 10 to 15 Earth masses. Above this core is the main part of the planet made up of liquid metallic hydrogen. Jupiter is about to 86% hydrogen and 14% helium (by a number of atoms, about 75/25% by weight) with traces of methane, water, ammonia and “stone”. This is very close to the primordial composition of the Solar Nebula from which the entire solar system was formed. Jupiter has a huge magnetic field, much stronger than the Earth and has rings like Saturn, but paler and smaller.
Due to the very large distance from the Sun, the heat received from it is almost negligible, Jupiter warming up virtually alone, emitting the heat from the inside by convection between the liquid hydrogen and the plasma. Although as a Jupiter composition resembles a star, it does not have enough energy to begin fusion of hydrogen with helium, the process that feeds a star. Jupiter should have been 75-80 times larger; some astronomers believe that Jupiter is really a “starving” star; others think Jupiter will “light up” one day, destroying the Earth.
One of the most well-known aspects of the planet Jupiter is the Big Red Spot, the oval three times the Earth, with a length of about 40,000 km; this is a region where the pressure is very high and the higher clouds are taller and cooler than in neighbouring areas. Scientists believe the Big Red Spot is a storm that is falling at a very slow pace, but they do not know if it will ever disappear. This was first observed 300 years ago by Robert Hooke. Jupiter has its own “solar system”, with 67 known satellites, the most famous being Europe, Io, Ganymede and Calisto; the four satellites were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, being called Galilean satellites.
Jupiter may be able to defend the Earth from impact by huge asteroids
Jupiter is not the kind of shield in which simply the asteroids that should end up on Terra simply stop, but the latest simulations reveal that the gaseous giant deviates from the course of the very dangerous asteroids and thus removes them from our planet. The concept that Jupiter is a shield against asteroids first appeared in a 1994 George Wetherill signed work, and NASA researcher Kevin Grazier of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory tried to test George’s theory on his computer and see if he could results in different results.
On television, you often see documentation about the influence of the planet Jupiter on our solar system. I’ve been thinking about this theory and forced myself not to believe it for a few moments, says Grazier.
Well, after simulations, the scientist found out that a small, celestial body like a comet or asteroid between the planets Jupiter and Saturn would be diverted but only after crossing the boundaries of the solar system. After more advanced simulations, some taking Jupiter out of calculus, others Saturn, revealed the need for both planets to exist for the theory to work, for cosmic objects to be diverted outside the solar system. If there were only one of the two planets, a belt of materials would be created around it, and only a few small bodies would be taken out of the solar system.
The study, which was published in the journal Astrobiology, also revealed that the influence of Jupiter is much more important when it comes to the storage of volatile gases around planets like Terra. Volatiles are chemicals with low boiling points such as water. It seems that the gravity of the planet Jupiter slows down asteroids and comets through the solar system, making their impact with Terra much less likely.
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