Solar System - Jupiter

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by kkrish, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Disclaimer: New information from Juno spacecraft is coming in every day. Therefore the information on Jupiter is ever changing and dynamic. I have tried to provide the latest information as much as I am aware of, but still am unable to keep up with the enormous amount of information on Jupiter and its moons. This is not complete information of that wonderful planet.
    ***************
    “By Jove!” - Jupiter
    jupiter.nasa.jpg

    Image courtesy: nasa.gov

    This planet has a lot of superlatives, largest, fastest, first, ...
    While it is unknown who discovered Jupiter, and while there were many other astronomers who observed the planet closely, it was Galileo who meticulously documented all his observations.

    The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter is huge, really huge. If we combine all the other planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune - this mass will be less than half the matter of Jupiter.

    It has a radius of 69,911 km. (Earth is 6,371 km) Eleven Earths side by side will span Jupiter’s diameter.

    diameter to Earth - nasa.gov.jpeg

    Image courtesy: nasa.gov

    If the Jupiter was a hollow ball about 1,300 Earths would fit in.


    Formation

    • A long time, roughly 4.5 billion years ago, just after our Sun formed, the remaining debris gathered into planets. Jupiter ended up gathering most of the swirling gas and dust.
    • After formation, Jupiter settled down in its orbit 5.2 astronomical units (AU) (almost 778 million km) from the Sun.
    Some Interesting facts
    • It takes 43 minutes (yes, almost ¾ of an hour!) for sunlight to reach the planet.
    • This is the first of the four outer planets (planets between our Sun and the asteroid belt are considered inner planets and those beyond the asteroid belt are the outer planets)
    • Imagine having a birthday once every 12 years. Even worse, imagine staying in the same grade for 12 years! Yes, one year on Jupiter is equal to 12 years on Earth. That’s how long it takes for Jupiter to orbit the Sun.
    • But there is a bright side. Classes will be short; really short. That’s because Jupiter rotates about twice as fast as Earth. One day on Jupiter is ten hours only. It is the fastest spinning of all the planets in our solar system.
    • Jupiter does not enjoy seasons as we do. That’s because the planet is almost upright tilting just a tad bit - a mere 3 degrees.
    • Jupiter is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium – the same components present in our Sun. They say that had Jupiter accumulated more mass, it might have ignited to become another sun. But it would take at least 79 more "Jupiters" to crush together to ignite into a small sun (smaller than our Sun)
    Jupiter's interior
    • As we plunge deep into the Jovian atmosphere, the pressure and temperature is so intense that the hydrogen atoms are squeezed together tightly compressing the gas into liquid. This has given rise to the largest ocean in the Solar system; only it is an ocean of liquid hydrogen and not water.
    • Scientists believe that about halfway to the center, the atoms are squeezed so tight that electrons start escaping from the Hydrogen atoms making them electrically conductive like metal. This, combined with the rapid spinning of the planet has generated the planet’s huge magnetic field.
    • Jupiter’s core is extremely hot about 50,000 degrees Celsius. Scientist are not sure if the core is solid or a dense soup of iron and silicate materials.
    External appearance
    Stripes
    • Looking at a picture of Jupiter we see stripes of clouds, swirls and a huge swirl.
    • Scientists believe that Jupiter’s atmosphere is made up of three layers and is about 71 kilometers deep.
    • The topmost layer where we see stripes and swirls maybe clouds of ammonia, the mid layer might be ammonium hydrosulphide, and the innermost layer could be water and ice.
    • The stripes and bands that we see across the surface could be the result of the planet’s fast spin which separates the clouds into older denser clouds and fresh warmer clouds rising from beneath.
    The Great Red Spot
    • When we think of Jupiter the first image that comes to mind is the Great Big Spot. This has been swirling for more than 300 years and is a gigantic storm twice the size of earth. Recently three more spots merged into one to form the “Little Red Spot” which is about half the size of the Great Big Spot. Scientist do not know if these storms are shallow clouds or deep rooted as pillars or funnels.
    • The storms continue to rage for hundreds of years due to the fact that lack of a solid surface there is no friction to slow down the storms and eventually dissipate them.
    Rings
    • Jupiter also has a three ring system but it is not prominent or intricate as that of Saturn’s. These rings were first discovered by Voyager in 1979. Till then only Saturn was believed to have the ring system and this discovery came as a surprise. Now we know that all the four outer planets -Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus - have rings.
    • Jupiter's ring system has three main components: a pair of very faint outer rings called the gossamer rings; a wide, flat main ring; and a thick inner ring called the halo.
    Ring system - nasa.gov.jpg Image courtesy: nasa.gov

    Magnetosphere

    • Jupiter is surrounded by an enormous magnetic field called the magnetosphere, which has a million times the volume of Earth's magnetosphere. It is 16 to 54 times more powerful that Earth’s magnetic field.
    • It spreads to from 1-3 million kilometers towards the sun and then tapers off to a billion kilometers almost touching Saturn’s orbit.
    • The magnetosphere rotates with Jupiter which is a spinning fast. As it rotates it sweeps up charged particles and the fast rotational speed accelerates the particles to high energies. This has resulted in intense radiation which can destroy spacecraft.
    • Charged particles are trapped in the magnetosphere and form intense radiation belts. These belts are similar to the Earth's Van Allen belts, but are millions of times more intense.
    Jupiter's magnetic field - astronomy.nju. edu.cn.JPG
    Image courtesy: astronomy.nju.edu.cn

    Jupiter's magnetic field also causes some of the solar system's most spectacular aurorae at the planet's poles. Here it is captured by Hubble Space telescope.


    Jupiter's aurora. nasa. and UMI.jpg

    Image courtesy: NASA and University of Michigan


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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  2. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Noisy Jupiter

    Did you know that Jupiter is also the noisiest planet in our solar system?
    Jupiter emits radio waves in three different wavelength bands:

    1. Centimeter – wave lengths shorter than 3 cm indicates a temperature of -140 degrees C which means this radiation is produced by molecular motion in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
    2. Decimeter – wavelengths 3 cm and 3m indicate that this radiation is produced by electron motion in the magnetic field.
    3. Decameter – wavelengths longer than 10 meters are produced when planet Io passes through Jupiter’s magnetic field. In certain positions, Io becomes electrically charged – negative on one side and positive on the other- electric currents of five million amps may flow between the moon and Jupiter’s ionosphere resulting in tremendous radio bursts.
    The effect of Io's interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere is illustrated in this picture below.
    jupiter-magnetic-field - National air and space museum.jpg

    Image courtesy: National Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian)

    Here is another picture of the four moons and Jupiter's Magnetosphere.
    Magnetospahere. ESA.jpg

    Image courtesy: European Space Agency

    Jupiter's South Pole - picture taken by Juno spacecraft.

    Jupiter's South pole - Juno - nasa.jpg
    Image courtesy: NASA.gov


    Potential for Life


    From what we have learned about Jupiter it is impossible for life, as we know it, to survive. The one possibility of life is on one of its moons, Europa. Let's take a look at Jupiter's moons.

    Jupiter’s Moons

    Jupiter has 69 moons out of which 53 have been confirmed. The remaining 16 have to be approved by the IAU after confirming their orbits.

    Of the 53 moons, the first four and the largest, were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. These are known as the Galilean satellites or Galilean moons.

    They are — Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

    Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Io's surface is covered by sulfur in different colorful forms. We already learnt that it interacts with Jupiter’s magnetosphere to create strong radio signals. Io has a core, and a mantle of at least partially molten rock, topped by a crust of solid rock coated with sulfur compounds
    IO - nasa.jpeg

    Image courtesy: NASA

    Here is an image of a volcanic eruption on IO captured by a passing spacecraft (New Horizons?..not sure)
    IO's volcanic eruption.svs.gsfc.nasa.gov.jpg
    Image courtesy: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  3. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Europa. Europa’s frozen crust hides beneath a liquid water ocean. Scientists believe that life may survive in the oceans of Europa as they do on Earth. While one may wonder how liquid water may be present at such a far distance from the Sun, it is believed that heat needed to keep the water liquid comes from inside the moon; similar to the ones that drives Io’s volcanes. Europa also has a core. And so does Ganymede.
    Europa.nasa.jpeg

    Image courtesy: NASA

    It is believed that Europa has twice the water as that of Earth. Here is an illustration. If All the water is taken from Earth and formed into a ball it is less than all the water taken from Europa and formed into a ball. Earth and Europa are shown at their relative sizes.
    water on Euorpa . nasa.jpeg

    Image courtesy: NASA

    Ganymede the largest moon in the solar system. It is even bigger than planet Mercury. This is also the only moon known to have its own internally generated magnetic field. This could be a result of convection currents in its iron core. Ganymede’s magnetosphere is buried in Jupiter’s more powerful magnetosphere.

    Ganymede. nasa.jpeg

    Image courtesy: NASA

    Callisto. The second largest of Jupiter’s moons, it is the fourth moon based on the distance from Jupiter. It is the oldest moon and the most heavily cratered object in the solar system. Unlike the other three moons, Callisto does not exhibit any plate tectonic or volcanic activity.

    callisto. nasa.jpg

    Image courtesy: NASA

    A fun tidbit
    It is interesting to know that Ganymede, Europa and Io have a little game of their own. They like to play catch. Every one orbit that Ganymede makes around Jupiter, Europa makes two orbits, and Io makes four orbits.

    Like our moon, these four moons are tidally locked to Jupiter, which means they keep the same face towards Jupiter at all times and rotate once on their axes for every orbit around Jupiter.

    Here is a rare treat - three moons casting their shadows on Jupiter captured by Hubble
    triple moon - spacetelescope.org..jpg

    Image courtesy: Spacetelescope.org
    Information sources: NASA, Universe Today, Smithsonian.


    The end.
    Thank you.
     
  4. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    A small correction.
    this should read, " Europa's frozen crust hides beneath "it" a liquid water ocean.
     
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  5. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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  6. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  7. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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    @kkrish Wow Kamala amazing article . Thank you so much for the wonderful pics /illustrations and the help with putting things in perspective .
     
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  8. kkrish

    kkrish Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you for the first feedback @justanothergirl .
    Means a lot to me.
    There was a lot of information that I removed. The article was growing and growing. :)
    I will explain some points more clearly later.
     
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  9. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh I can imagine . ..but please do share in a separate post if you want to keep this in its original form . Once I started reading about Jupiter I couldn't stop. You are probably the only writer I know who can make space articles seem like mystery thriller.
     
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  10. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Good one, kkrish. I hope you are sitting while reading this: The descriptions and presentation is easier and more engaging than the first few pages I tried of Neil deGrasse Tyson's 'Astrophysics ... hurry' book. Jupiter was my favorite planet to read about in school during the years science covered the solar system. Next only to the story of Galileo and the church placing him under house-arrest.

    Do post the parts that were removed due to the content growing and growing.

    I can imagine how long it must have taken to compose and compile the text and pictures. Lot of hours and lot of reading, editing, revising and more. Keeping such topics brief and understandable is very challenging. Well done.

    If you are taking requests for future write-ups, I'd like to read about the DoD's program to research potential UFO's.
     
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