Jupiter's Important Properties

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  • 0:02 The Planet Jupiter
  • 0:37 Jupiter's Interior
  • 1:34 Jupiter's Atmosphere
  • 3:01 Jupiter's Moons & Rings
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will go over the basic but important concepts related to Jupiter's interior, atmosphere, moons, and ring. You'll learn whether Jupiter is mainly a gaseous, liquid, or rocky planet!

The Planet Jupiter

What's the largest planet in our solar system? It's Jupiter, duh! You knew that. But did you know it also contains over 70% of all the planetary matter in our solar system? Did you know that despite the fact that Jupiter's diameter is 11 times that of Earth, Earth is actually much denser than Jupiter?

There's so much cool stuff to learn about this massive planet, but we can't possibly cover it all in a single lesson. However, we will cover enough about its interior, atmosphere, and its moons to give you an idea of what this planet is truly like!

Jupiter's Interior

Let's start our journey through Jupiter at its interior. The interior of Jupiter is mainly liquid metallic hydrogen, a kind of liquid hydrogen formed under very high pressure. This liquid hydrogen is really good at conducting electricity, and when it's spun about by the planet's rotation, it generates a very strong magnetic field, about ten times stronger than that of Earth! This magnetic field is like a force-shield because it helps to form a magnetosphere, a volume of space around a planet where charged particles are controlled by the planet's magnetic field.

Additionally, there's a sort of rocky core located at Jupiter's center that is composed of heavy elements like iron, silicon, and nickel. I say 'sort of' because the nomenclature of a 'rocky core' is more about the chemical composition of this core rather than its mechanical properties.

Jupiter's Atmosphere

Unlike the large interior, Jupiter's atmosphere's only a thin layer of very turbulent gas right above the liquid interior. Therefore, Jupiter is actually mainly a liquid, as opposed to gaseous planet. You'd think that because of this, you'd be able to swim on Jupiter, but if the temperature and pressure don't kill you (and they will), then you still won't be able to swim through it.

This is because the thin gaseous atmosphere gradually merges with the liquid interior. So, what does this mean? Well, right here on Earth, if you were to jump through the air off of a diving board and into a swimming pool, you'd hit a clear surface, a boundary between gas (air) and water.

But no such boundary exists on Jupiter because of its gradual transition between gas and liquid. If you were to jump into Jupiter, you'd sink through the gas first and then through a liquid thereafter without being able to splash down on any clear surface. Pretty neat, huh?

Anyways, the thin atmosphere Jupiter does have is made up of about 86% hydrogen, and its clouds are composed of ammonia, water, and ammonium hydrosulfide. In Jupiter's atmosphere is also the famous Great Red Spot discovered by scientist Robert Hooke in 1664. Scientists believe this is a huge storm that has lasted for at least 300 years.

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