What is the largest planet of the solar system
From school, we all know that the largest planet in the solar system is Jupiter. She also gaseous. She also has satellites ... Perhaps this is all the information about Jupiter, which remains in the memory of most people after graduation. But this is not only a big, but also a very interesting planet, and it is worth it to know much more about it. Although it is possible that soon we will have the opportunity to find out what is not known to scientists at the moment.
Of course, no one can be absolutely sure of the correctness of the theory of the origin of the solar system in general and of Jupiter in particular. But still the basic theory is as follows.
About 4.6 billion years ago, there was no solar system. There was only a cloud of gas and dust of inconceivable sizes. Now this cloud is called the Solar Nebula. Over time, gravity led to the fact that matter began to be absorbed inward, and in the middle of the nebula the sun appeared.
After the star was born, the rest of the materials began to stick together.The smallest particles under the influence of gravity approached and grew together, forming larger pieces. The solar wind captured light helium and hydrogen, leaving the rocks, which later became the basis of the terrestrial planets. But at a considerable distance from the Sun, the solar wind could not have a significant effect. This allowed lightweight materials to connect and form a gas giant - Jupiter. Satellites, comets, and asteroids appeared in a similar way.
In order for the gases forming the planet not to be carried away by the solar wind, the gas giant had to form incredibly quickly. Even after the solid base of Jupiter reached a mass that is 10 times the mass of the Earth, the attraction became enough to hold light gases without fear of the influence of the solar wind. Despite the fact that Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, there are larger planets in the Universe. But few celestial bodies could form with the same speed.
There is another theory of the origin of Jupiter - the model of disk instability. The difference between this model and the base model is that its followers believe that dust and gas were originally related to each other.In this case, such a planet as Jupiter could have arisen in just a thousand years, while the usual term for the birth of a planet is several million years.
The emergence of such a massive celestial body at the very beginning of the birth of the solar system most likely influenced the formation of other planets. Mass of Jupiter gave him the opportunity to change the trajectory of the small planets flying past. It was his gravity that could have caused some of the planets to be on the inner edges of the solar system, and others on the outer.
Discovery of Jupiter and satellites
As such, the discovery of Jupiter was not. After all, this planet is visible at night with the naked eye. Therefore, it is simply impossible to say who first paid attention to her. It is precisely known that they knew about the planet in ancient times. Religious beliefs of Greek, Mesopotamian, Babylonian and other cultures were based, in particular, on the knowledge of the existence of Jupiter.
Subsequently, in 1610, Galileo discovered that this celestial body has satellites. For our star system, Jupiter is the largest planet. In the galaxy, there are planets and larger ones.However, few which planet can boast with so many moons. To date, 67 natural satellites of Jupiter have been discovered, the largest and most famous of which are Io, Ganymede, Callisto and Europe. These four satellites were discovered by Galileo, who in precisely this way proved Copernicus’s theory, which claimed that it was not the Earth at all - the center of the universe.
Jupiter got its name in ancient times. He was named in honor of the main god of the Romans - a worthy name of the planet, the largest of all known even to date. It is interesting that the ancient Greeks called the same planet Zeus, by analogy with the Romans, because in Greek mythology the king of the gods is Zeus. But still this name remained in ancient Greece, only the Roman name of the planet reached our time.
When a child asks which planet is the largest, we boldly answer that it is Jupiter. And we are right not only literally. After all, Jupiter is not just the largest in size from all the planets of the solar system. In addition, it is also much more massive than all the planets. Moreover, Jupiter is heavier than every single planet, and its weight by 2/3 exceeds the weight of all planets,put together! Scientists believe that if the mass of Jupiter was more than 80 times, he would have every chance of becoming a star.
But not only high mass gives Jupiter a resemblance to the Sun. Like our star, this planet consists mainly of helium and hydrogen. He has 4 large moons and a large number of small moons. The system of Jupiter is the solar system in miniature. Therefore, if a child asks about what is the largest solar planet, you can not correct it, but proudly answer: “Jupiter!”
If you look at this planet through a telescope, you can see beautiful light and dark stripes on it. These lanes are movements of the wind raging in the atmosphere. Its speed is about 640 km / h.
Particularly unusual is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter's photographs. More precisely, the interest is not even the spot itself, but what it is. The fact is that this is a hurricane, the wind speed on the edge of which reaches about 360 km / h. The size of this storm is three times the diameter of the Earth. But even this is not the strangest thing in this phenomenon. The most amazing thing is that there has been a storm for more than 300 years, stopping only for a short time. However, the possibility of its termination has not yet been confirmed, this is only a hypothesis.The spot is called Red because the clouds of Jupiter contain phosphorus and sulfur in the composition of ammonia crystals.
The magnetic field of Jupiter is 20 thousand times greater than the Earth's. Like the planet itself, its magnetic field is the strongest in the solar system. Jupiter's electromagnetic fields are so strong that they damage specially protected aircraft that were sent to study it.
Jupiter is the largest planet. In addition, it is also the most "nimble". The fact is that around its axis this celestial body rotates faster than other known planets. And this is even considering its gigantic size. Day on Jupiter lasts less than 10 Earth hours. This speed of rotation led to the fact that at the equator the planet is more convex, so the equator is 7% wider than the poles.
Atmosphere of jupiter
The greatest planet is of extraordinary interest for scientists. In the world of this giant, everything is determined by the composition of the atmosphere. The gas giant has no solid elements on the surface on which the aircraft could land. The surface of Jupiter consists of helium and hydrogen, with a small percentage of other gases present in the air.
Most of the atmosphere of the giant is hydrogen (90%). Helium is about 10%. The rest, a very small part, includes ammonia, water vapor, methane and sulfur.
If we assume that it is possible to descend from the outer shell of Jupiter to its center, then we would meet with a strong increase in pressure and temperature. This is due to the separation of gases into layers. Deep under the shell, closer to the center of the planet, hydrogen, most likely, has a liquid state. And even deeper, presumably, it goes into metal. It is the huge reserves of hydrogen and helium that make Jupiter the heaviest planet in the solar system.
The temperature of the atmosphere of Jupiter varies from -150 Celsius in the lower layers of the troposphere to 725 degrees Celsius on the surface of the planet. Somewhat higher is the thermosphere, which emits a glow. Heating comes from the sun and from particles from the magnetosphere.
The upper layer of the atmosphere is the exosphere. It does not have a clear boundary, which allows the particles of gas to go on an interstellar journey.
Center of Jupiter
The largest planet in the solar system definitely has a dense core. Its composition is impossible to study, but it is known that it is surrounded by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen containing helium. It is wrapped up in an atmosphere of molecular hydrogen.
The core weighs 10 times less than the Earth. Hydrogen around it is more than 80% of the diameter of the planet.
Satellites and rings
Jupiter has at least 63 satellites. The most famous of them are the Galilean satellites.
The largest planet of the solar system, as it should be, has the largest satellite in our system. This is not just the largest satellite, its size exceeds the size of some planets - Pluto and Mercury. In addition, he is the only satellite known to mankind that has a magnetic field.
Io is the most volcanically active body of all known to science. Sulfur, which is emitted as a result of such activity, gives the satellite a yellow-orange color. Jupiter's gravity causes tides on solid Io, creating heat for volcanic activity.
Europe is completely covered with ice. If the ice melts, the water in Europe will be two times more than on Earth. In addition, the existence of ices on Callisto and Ganymede is allowed.
Callisto has the lowest reflective effect. This means, most likely, that the entire surface of this satellite consists of a colorless dark stone.
The largest planet, the “lands” of which scientists were able to surprise in 1979, also has rings. Three rings were discovered by Voyager 1, passing around the equator of the gas giant.
The main ring has a smooth structure. Its thickness is about 30 kilometers, and its width is 6,400 km.
The inner cloud, called the halo, is about 20 thousand kilometers thick. It runs from the main ring to the final ring, expanding under the influence of the magnetic field of the planet. Both rings are made of dark small particles.
The third ring resembles a cobweb, as it is almost transparent. In fact, it consists of the smallest pieces of three giant satellites: Thebes, Amalthea and Adrastea. Probably, the ring consists of dust particles corresponding in size to particles in cigarette smoke. This ring has the most impressive dimensions - 129 thousand kilometers wide and more than 30 thousand kilometers thick.
The size of the planet and the position in the solar system
Jupiter has incredible dimensions! It is 318 times more massive than Earth. Its diameter is 12 times the length of the equator of our home planet. Despite the weight, the density of this planet is in fifth place (it is 1326 g / cubic centimeter). It is easy to explain: gas is much less dense than rock. The structure of the gas giant is similar to the structure of our Star. However, in order to start the synthesis of hydrogen, which feeds the star, it is necessary to have a size 75 times larger than now.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun.From the star, he is 778 million kilometers away. Of course, Jupiter is our largest planet. In the Universe, such scales are not uncommon, but in the nearest star systems there is not such a massive planet.
Study and predictions
The largest planet of the solar system was studied a long time ago, but detailed studies were organized only by NASA. Of particular importance was the probe discharged into the atmosphere of Jupiter by the Galileo. In addition, the Pioneer and Voyazher apparatuses were sent for research. The last who transmitted information about Jupiter, was the probe "New Horizons", which was sent to Pluto.
Currently, Jupiter does not have artificial satellites, but in 2016 it is planned to launch another explorer of the gas giant.
From Earth, Jupiter can be seen in an 80-mm telescope. At this magnification, spots, protrusions and indentations will be visible. With an aperture of 150 mm, you will see the Big Red Spot and small details of the belts.
During the confrontation, when viewed from Earth, the largest planet of the solar system reaches a visible magnitude of -2.94. Thus, Jupiter is the third brightest object in the sky.The rest of the time, the visible value becomes -1.6.
Since then, the observation of Jupiter has become available to every inhabitant of the Earth, the largest planet whose photos have flown around the Internet and are the items of collections of observers of the starry sky, more and more interested in humanity.
Unfortunately, to foresee the future is not given to anyone. And although it has long been known which planet is the largest, it is not clear to anyone what awaits it in the future. There is an assumption that in the future Jupiter will become a star, and its moons will form peculiar planets, which will give an opportunity to move to a residence in this system when the life of the Sun comes to an end.
Interesting facts about Jupiter that everyone should know
- If we imagine that the Sun does not exceed the size of the door, then the Earth will be equal to a coin, and Jupiter will look like a basketball.
- Jupiter is the fifth solar planet.
- The day of Jupiter lasts only 9 hours 55 minutes. Around the Sun, the planet passes in almost 12 Earth years.
- Jupiter is a gas giant. However, it is considered that a solid core, approximately equal to the size of the Earth, lies deep under the gases.
- The atmosphere of the giant consists of helium and hydrogen.
- Jupiter has poorly developed rings, discovered in 1979.
- Studies of Jupiter and satellites are conducted long ago. The next mission - “Juno” starts in 2016.
- There are no habitual forms of life on Jupiter. However, the presence of oceans on satellites suggests that there may be some kind of life.
- The Great Red Spot is a huge storm whose size is larger than the diameter of the Earth. A hurricane has been raging for more than 300 years.