Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and contains more mass than all of the other planets combined. Jupiter has 16 satellites, and is 142,800 kilometers in diameter at its equator. Jupiter also has a ring system, but it is too fain to see from the Earth. It was not discovered until the visit by Voyager 1 in 1979. Jupiter is known for its colorful atmospheric clouds, which is made of mostly hydrogen and helium. The cloud patterns are dynamic, and storms such as the Great Red Spot move around the planet, lasting for years at a time. The Great Red Spot is huge- almost as large as three Earths- and it moves in a counter-clockwise direction.
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun at a distance of 778,330,000 kilometers from it. Jupiter spins rapidly, with a rotation period only 0.41354 days, but the year is long, taking 4,332 Earth days to orbit the Sun. The mean cloud temperature is -121 degrees Celsius, and is one of the brighter objects in the sky, shining at a magnitude of -2.7. Jupiter has 16 moons, but the most well known are the 4 Galilean satellites. These four moons- Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede- were discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei. The most interesting are Io and Europa. Io has tremendous volcano activity occuring on the planet and Europa might have a water ocean beneath its ice surface which may harbor some life.
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