IntroductionThe Latest: Thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft, we now know that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot penetrates well below the clouds. Researchers presented their latest findings about our solar system’s largest planet in December 2017 at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

    The Great Red Spot is a giant oval of crimson-colored clouds in Jupiter's southern hemisphere with wind speeds greater than any storm on Earth. Measuring 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) in width as of April 3, 2017, the Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth.

    The fifth planet from the Sun, and the most massive in our solar system, has a long history surprising scientists—all the way back to 1610 when Galileo Galilei found the first moons beyond Earth. That discovery changed the way we see the universe. Explore Jupiter ›

    Ten Things to Know About Jupiter

    10 Things to Know About Jupiter


    The Grandest Planet

    Eleven Earths could fit across Jupiter’s equator. If Earth were the size of a grape, Jupiter would be the size of a basketball.


    Fifth Planet from Our Star

    Jupiter orbits about 484 million miles (778 million kilometers) or 5.2 Astronomical Units (AU) from our Sun (Earth is one AU from the Sun).


    Short Day/Long Year

    Jupiter rotates once about every 10 hours (a Jovian day), but takes about 12 Earth years to complete one orbit of the Sun (a Jovian year).

    Jupiter's Bands of Clouds


    What's Inside

    Jupiter is a gas giant and so lacks an Earth-like surface. If it has a solid inner core at all, it’s likely only about the size of Earth.


    Massive World, Light Elements

    Jupiter's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).


    Worlds Galore

    Jupiter has 53 known moons, with many additional moons to be confirmed and named.


    Ringed World

    In 1979 the Voyager mission discovered Jupiter’s faint ring system. All four giant planets in our solar system have ring systems.


    Exploring Jupiter

    Nine spacecraft have visited Jupiter. Seven flew by and two have orbited the gas giant. Juno, the most recent, arrived at Jupiter in 2016.


    Ingredients for Life?

    Jupiter cannot support life as we know it. But some of Jupiter's moons have oceans beneath their crusts that might support life.


    Super Storm

    Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a gigantic storm that’s about twice the size of Earth and has raged for over a century.

    Juno's Eighth Close Approach to Jupiter

    Did You Know

    Did You Know?

    There are no rockets powerful enough to hurl a spacecraft into the outer solar system and beyond. In 1962, scientists calculated how to use Jupiter's intense gravity to hurl spacecraft into the farthest regions of the solar system. We've been traveling farther and faster ever since.

    Pop Culture

    Pop Culture

    The biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter also has a large presence in pop culture, including many movies, TV shows, video games and comics. Jupiter was a notable destination in the Wachowski siblings’ science fiction spectacle Jupiter Ascending, while various Jovian moons provide settings for Cloud Atlas, Futurama, Power Rangers, and Halo, among many others. In Men in Black when Agent J—played by Will Smith—mentions he thought one of his childhood teachers was from Venus, Agent K—played by Tommy Lee Jones—replies that she is actually from one of Jupiter’s moons.

    Solar System in My Neighborhood

    Solar System Activity

    In this 1-hour activity, students shrink the scale of the vast solar system to the size of their neighborhood.

    More to Explore

    • Build Your Own 3D Glasses

      With a few materials and a few steps, you can build your own glasses to view 3D images.

    • Make Your Own 3D Images

      You can create your own red/blue 3D images to print, or look at on a computer screen, using a normal digital camera and some image processing software.

    • Jiggly Jupiter

      Unlock the secrets of the planets, then break out the spoons and dig in to these gelatin treats.



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    NASA Planetary Photojournal - Jupiter

    Planetary Rings Node

    Solar System News