• LOCATION 14 | Highlights from the Virtual Solar System Drive with Fred Watson

    Approaching Jupiter

    Marnie] The biggest planet of them all, Jupiter, is coming up on our right-hand side in a few kilometres.

    Jupiter is the fifth planet from our Sun and is, by far, the largest planet in the solar system. It's more than twice as massive as ALL the other planets combined.

    Fred, what else can you tell our terranauts about Jupiter?

    [Fred] The planet spins once every 10 hours—creates strong jet streams, separating its clouds into dark belts and bright zones across long stretches. With no solid surface, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, can travel up to 539 kilometres per hour at the equator. Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger in size than the Earth itself. Astronomers have watched this storm rage for more than 300 years.

    It is 11 times wider than Earth, and sunlight takes 43 minutes to travel from the Sun to Jupiter- twice as long as it will take us to get to Siding Spring.

    Jupiter is surrounded by dozens of moons and rings, but unlike the famous rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s rings are very faint and made of dust not ice.

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Highlights from the Virtual Solar System Drive with Fred Watson