Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Solar System: Jupiter

Jupiter was not my favorite planet to paint. It's big, and the patterns were really hard to replicate. I also had trouble finding consistent photos. In the end I just decided to paint it interestingly and move on.
  • Jupiter was first visited by Pioneer 10 in 1973.
  • Although the 4 larger moons are fairly well known (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto), there are at least 59 other smaller moons.
  • Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a swirling storm 26,000 km across. To put that in perspective, that's more than twice the diameter of the Earth.
  • Jupiter is approximately 90% hydrogen and 10% helium.
  • Despite only having "trace" amounts of rock by mass and volume, Jupiter's core is probably rock consisting of 10 to 15 "Earths" worth of mass. Trace apparently means ~2% or less (by mass).
  • Outside of the core is the main bulk of the planet, consisting of (get this) liquid metallic hydrogen.
  • The different bands that surround the surface of Jupiter are clouds. Each band is actually blowing in opposite directions from its adjacent bands.
  • As gas giants go, Jupiter is about as big as it gets. Adding more material wouldn't significantly increase its size due to the gravitational compression.
  • Jupiter has dark rings, a huge magnetic field, emits more energy outward than it receives from the Sun, and generally just has a lot going on.
The Nine Planets

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