Now we come to the king of the planets, the undisputed heavyweight champion of our Solar System.
I mean Jupiter.
(I kept typing Jumpiter at first, so I thought I’d leave it there.)
Jupiter is a straight up amazing planet. First of all, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s the heaviest planet. In fact, it’s twice as massive as the other seven planets combined. It’s so massive that it alters the center of mass of our Solar System—the Solar System (including the Sun) revolves around a point just beyond of the surface of the Sun. It’s so massive that, if you were to throw more matter into it, it wouldn’t even get any bigger than it is because the sheer gravitational pull would cause the planet to contract in on itself.
Yes, Jupter is a big boy.
(I mean Jupiter. Sheesh.)
Jupiter is also super energetic. It emits more radiation than it receives from the sin. Once Venus disappears behind the horizon, Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the night sky—bright enough to cast shadows on Earth. You can’t hide from Jupiet.
(Jupiter Jupiter Jupiter. Why can’t I spell it right)
Jupiter has the most dramatic surface features outside of Earth. It’s got colourful bands of clouds in its atmosphere, and outrageous ovals of red and white sprinkled across its surface. These ovals are storm systems, some as large as Earth itself. The famous Great Red Spot, in fact is larger than two Earths and has spun around Jupiter for hundreds of years.
Jupiter has a super powerful magnetic field that sweeps out as far as the orbit of Saturn. If you were to travel through Jupiter’s magnetic field, you’d be cooked by all the energetic particles trapped along the field lines. So don’t do that.
Finally, Jupiter has dozens of little moons like any respectable gas giant would have. But four of them are amazing—some the best moons in the Solar System:
- Ganymede, the most massive moon in the Solar System
- Europa, the most icy moon in the Solar System
- Io, the most volcano-y moon in the Solar System
- Callisto, the most ordinary moon in the Solar System
Seriously, Callisto might be the forgotten middle child of these four “Galilean moons.” I mean…it’s a good moon, better than the moons of nearly every other planet…but in the Jupiter family, it struggles to stand out. Such is life.
So even though Jupiter isn’t really a great place to visit unless you’re a specially designed robotic probe, it’s still the second-best planet in the Solar System. And that’s no small feat, because the best planet is freakin’ unbelievable. Bet you can’t guess which one it is.
Our rankings so far:
If you were a Galilean moon, which one of the four would you be? Let us all know in the comments below, and then vote for the BEST planet and the WORST planet in our Solar System!