THE MASS OF JUPITER                  


The general instructions and the material for the are provided on the Space Science Experience Home. In this experience, we explore the Mass of Jupiter.

  • Introduction to the Scientific Case (Spanish) (English)
  • Videos related to the Scientific Case.


          Jupiter animation. Credits: NASA

Jupiter is the most massive planet in the Solar System (1000 times than Earth) but nevertheless it is 1000 times less massive than the Sun (play with

Jupiter is 1000 times more massive than Earth mass comparison. Credits: NASA


Jupiter has ~60 natural satellites (moons) but here we will just mention the four more largest: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. For all but Io, water is expected in form of ice at their internal layers. They are called the "Galileans moons" as they were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. He saw the moons of Jupiter orbiting it but we orbiting around our Sun. From this, he theorized that the Earth was not the center of the Universe.


                     Galileo Galilei was the first person 



          Galilean moons. Credits: The times now.


Planets are formed at the latest stages of the star formation process, as shown below. For that reason, a star and its planets are formed from the same material and their composition is the same. The predominant element in stars and planets is the Hydrogen (~ 91%), then Helium (~8%) and finally what are called "Heavy metals" (~1%). In the case of the Solar System, this star is the Sun and its planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Star formation processes. Credits: Greene 2001


The big difference between stars and planets is the amount of mass.

                               The Sun is 1000 more massive than its biggest planet (Jupiter). Credits: NASA   



Hydrostatic equilibrium concept. Credits: Berkley education


Therefore, there is a difference between the light that we see from stars and from planets. Stars bright because of their nuclear reactions. Planets bright due to the reflection of the light from their closest star.Those are planets which are far from the star may not be visible but are at infrared wavelengths (lower energy).