Cloud bands are clearly visible on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and contains nearly 3/4 of all planetary matter.

With no solid surface, Jupiter is a gas and liquid filled giant. Its turbulent belts of clouds circulate parallel to the equator and often contain oval spots which are storm systems with the largest being easily twice the diameter of Earth. The great red spot has been observed for at least 300 years and rotates counter-clockwise with wind speeds of 270 miles per hour [430 km/hr].

Although observed and studied from Earth for centuries it wasn't until the mid 1970's that humans were able to get a closer look with the spacecraft Pioneer 10 and 11. The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were launched with the specific purpose of collecting information and data on the Jovian worlds. In December 1995 the Galileo spacecraft entered into orbit and began it's long-term study of Jupiter and it's moons, a probe was also sent deep into the atmosphere of the gas giant.

Selected radiation astronomy


This is a Hubble Space Telescope image taken on July 23, 2009, showing a blemish of about 5,000 miles long left by the 2009 Jupiter impact.[1] Credit: .
Brown spots mark the places where fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 tore through Jupiter's atmosphere in July 1994. Credit: Hubble Space Telescope Comet Team and NASA.
The Great Red Spot is decreasing in size (May 15, 2014). Credit: NASA Hubble Space Telescope.
A false-color composite image of Jupiter and its South Equatorial Belt shows an unusually bright spot, or outbreak, where winds are lofting particles to high altitudes. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. M. Keck Observatory.
Photo shows high-flying white clouds above Jupiter. Credit: NASA/SWRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran.{{fairuse}}

Jupiter has been called the Solar System's vacuum cleaner,[2] because of its immense gravity well and location near the inner Solar System. It receives the most frequent comet impacts of the Solar System's planets.[3]

A 1997 survey of historical astronomical drawings suggested that the astronomer Cassini may have recorded an impact scar in 1690. The survey determined eight other candidate observations had low or no possibilities of an impact.[4] A fireball was photographed by Voyager 1 during its Jupiter encounter in March 1979.[5] During the period July 16, 1994, to July 22, 1994, over 20 fragments from the comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 (SL9, formally designated D/1993 F2) collided with Jupiter's southern hemisphere, providing the first direct observation of a collision between two Solar System objects. This impact provided useful data on the composition of Jupiter's atmosphere.[6][7]

On July 19, 2009, an impact site was discovered at approximately 216 degrees longitude in System 2.[8][9] This impact left behind a black spot in Jupiter's atmosphere, similar in size to Oval BA. Infrared observation showed a bright spot where the impact took place, meaning the impact warmed up the lower atmosphere in the area near Jupiter's south pole.[10]

A fireball, smaller than the previous observed impacts, was detected on June 3, 2010, by Anthony Wesley, an amateur astronomer in Australia, and was later discovered to have been captured on video by another amateur astronomer in the Philippines.[11] Yet another fireball was seen on August 20, 2010.[12]

On September 10, 2012, another fireball was detected.[5][13]

The second image at right shows the atmospheric impact sites for the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragments. Spectroscopic studies revealed absorption lines in the Jovian spectrum due to diatomic sulfur (S2) and carbon disulfide (CS2), the first detection of either in Jupiter, and only the second detection of S2 in any astronomical object. Other molecules detected included ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The amount of sulfur implied by the quantities of these compounds was much greater than the amount that would be expected in a small cometary nucleus, showing that material from within Jupiter was being revealed.

"A false-color composite image [first on the left] of Jupiter and its South Equatorial Belt shows an unusually bright spot, or outbreak, where winds are lofting particles to high altitudes in this image made from data obtained by the W.M. Keck telescope on Nov. 11, 2010."[14]

"The white clouds [in the second image down on the left], which get up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide or so, are high up in Jupiter's atmosphere — so high that they're very cold, and the material they shed is therefore almost certainly frozen."[15]

"It's snowing on Jupiter, and we're seeing how it works."[15]

"It's probably mostly ammonia ice, but there may be water ice mixed into it, so it's not exactly like the snow that we have [on Earth]. And I was using my imagination when I said it was snowing there — it could be hail."[15]

"This photo taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on May 19, 2017, at 5:50 UTC from an altitude of 5,500 miles (8,900 kilometers) shows high-flying white clouds composed of water ice and/or ammonia ice. In some areas, these clouds appear to form squall lines — narrow bands of high winds and storms associated with a cold front."[15]


  1. Dennis Overbye (24 July 2009). Hubble Takes Snapshot of Jupiter’s ‘Black Eye’. New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  2. Richard A. Lovett (15 December 2006). Stardust's Comet Clues Reveal Early Solar System. National Geographic News. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
  3. Nakamura, T.; Kurahashi, H. (1998). "Collisional Probability of Periodic Comets with the Terrestrial Planets: An Invalid Case of Analytic Formulation". Astronomical Journal 115 (2): 848–54. doi:10.1086/300206. http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1538-3881/115/2/848/970144.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  4. Tabe, Isshi; Watanabe, Jun-ichi; Jimbo, Michiwo (February 1997). "Discovery of a Possible Impact SPOT on Jupiter Recorded in 1690". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan 49: L1–L5. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Franck Marchis (10 September 2012). Another fireball on Jupiter?. Cosmic Diary blog. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  6. Ron Baalke. Comet Shoemaker-Levy Collision with Jupiter. NASA. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
  7. Robert R. Britt (23 August 2004). Remnants of 1994 Comet Impact Leave Puzzle at Jupiter. space.com. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
  8. Staff (21 July 2009). Amateur astronomer discovers Jupiter collision, In: ABC News online. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  9. Mike Salway (19 July 2009). Breaking News: Possible Impact on Jupiter, Captured by Anthony Wesley, In: IceInSpace News. IceInSpace. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  10. Grossman, Lisa (July 20, 2009). "Jupiter sports new 'bruise' from impact". New Scientist. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17491-jupiter-sports-new-bruise-from-impact.html. 
  11. Michael Bakich (4 June 2010). Another impact on Jupiter. Astronomy Magazine online. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  12. Beatty Kelly (22 August 2010). Another Flash on Jupiter!. Sky Publishing. Retrieved 23 August 2010. Masayuki Tachikawa was observing ... 18:22 Universal Time on the 20th ... Kazuo Aoki posted an image ... Ishimaru of Toyama prefecture observed the event
  13. George Hall (September 2012). George's Astrophotography. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 10 Sept. 2012 11:35 UT .. observed by Dan Petersen
  14. Nancy Atkinson (24 December 2015). How Jupiter is Getting Its Belt Back. Universe Today. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Scott Bolton (30 May 2017). 'It's Snowing on Jupiter': Stunning Photos Show Clouds High in Gas Giant's Skies. Space.com. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
Selected topic

The page "Portal:Jupiter/Topic/6" does not exist.

Selected astronomy

Hydrocarbon astronomy

These images show the distribution of acetylene around the north and south poles of Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC.

"Spectra from the Voyager I IRIS experiment confirm the existence of enhanced infrared emission near Jupiter's north magnetic pole in March 1979."[1]

"Some species previously detected on Jupiter, including CH3D, C2H2, and C2H6, have been observed again near the pole. Newly discovered species, not previously observed on Jupiter, include C2H4, C3H4, and C6H6. All of these species except CH3D appear to have enhanced abundances at the north polar region with respect to midlatitudes."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sang J. Kim, John Caldwell, A.R. Rivolo, R. Wagener, Glenn S. Orton (November 1985). "Infrared polar brightening on Jupiter. III - Spectrometry from the Voyager 1 IRIS experiment". Icarus 64 (2): 233-48. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(85)90088-0. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0019103585900880. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
Selected deity


Marduk and his dragon Mušḫuššu is from a Babylonian cylinder seal.[1] Credit: RuM.

~2800 b2k: The observation of Jupiter dates back to the Babylonian astronomers of the 7th or 8th century BC.[2] To the Babylonians, this object represented their god Marduk. They used the roughly 12-year orbit of this planet along the ecliptic to define the constellations of their zodiac.[3][4]

Marduk Sumerian: amar utu.k "calf of the sun; solar calf"; Greek Μαρδοχαῖος,[5]

"Marduk" is the Babylonian form of his name.[6]

The name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk.[7] The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu ("bull calf of the sun god Utu").[6] The origin of Marduk's name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar (whose god was Utu, the sun god), dating back to the third millennium BC.[8]

By the Hammurabi period, Marduk had become astrologically associated with the planet Jupiter.[9]

Marduk's original character is obscure but he was later associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic.[10] His consort was the goddess Sarpanit.[11] He was also regarded as the son of Ea[12] (Sumerian Enki) and Damgalnuna (Damkina)[13] and the heir of Anu, but whatever special traits Marduk may have had were overshadowed by the political development through which the Euphrates valley passed and which led to people of the time imbuing him with traits belonging to gods who in an earlier period were recognized as the heads of the pantheon.[14]

Leonard W. King in The Seven Tablets of Creation (1902) included fragments of god lists which he considered essential for the reconstruction of the meaning of Marduk's name. Franz Bohl in his 1936 study of the fifty names also referred to King's list. Richard Litke (1958) noticed a similarity between Marduk's names in the An:Anum list and those of the Enuma elish, albeit in a different arrangement.

The connection between the An:Anum list and the list in Enuma Elish were established by Walther Sommerfeld (1982), who used the correspondence to argue for a Kassite period composition date of the Enuma elish, although the direct derivation of the Enuma elish list from the An:Anum one was disputed in a review by Wilfred Lambert (1984).[15]

Marduk prophesies that he will return once more to Babylon to a messianic new king, who will bring salvation to the city and who will wreak a terrible revenge on the Elamites. This king is understood to be Nebuchadnezzar I (Nabu-kudurri-uṣur I), 1125-1103 BC.[16]


  1. Willis, Roy (2012). World Mythology. New York: Metro Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4351-4173-5.
  2. A. Sachs (May 2, 1974). "Babylonian Observational Astronomy". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Royal Society of London) 276 (1257): 43–50 (see p. 44). doi:10.1098/rsta.1974.0008. 
  3. Eric Burgess (1982). By Jupiter: Odysseys to a Giant. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05176-X.
  4. Rogers, J. H. (1998). "Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions". Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 108: 9–28. 
  5. identified with Marduk by Heinrich Zimmeren (1862-1931), Stade's Zeitschrift 11, p. 161.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Helmer Ringgren, (1974) Religions of The Ancient Near East, Translated by John Sturdy, The Westminster Press, p. 66.
  7. Frymer-Kensky, Tikva (2005). Jones, Lindsay (ed.). Marduk. Encyclopedia of religion. 8 (2 ed.). New York. pp. 5702–5703. ISBN 0-02-865741-1.
  8. The Encyclopedia of Religion - Macmillan Library Reference USA - Vol. 9 - Page 201
  9. Jastrow, Jr., Morris (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, G.P. Putnam's Sons: New York and London. pp. 217-219.
  10. [John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, Simon & Schuster, 1965 p 541.]
  11. Helmer Ringgren, (1974) Religions of The Ancient Near East, Translated by John Sturdy, The Westminster Press, p. 67.
  12. Arendzen, John (1908). Cosmogony, In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  13. C. Scott Littleton (2005). Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, Volume 6. Marshall Cavendish. p. 829.
  14. Morris Jastrow (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. p. 38.
  15. Andrea Seri, The Fifty Names of Marduk in Enuma elis, Journal of the American Oriental Society 126.4 (2006)
  16. Matthew Neujahr (2006). "Royal Ideology and Utopian Futures in the Akkadian Ex Eventu Prophecies". In Ehud Ben Zvi (ed.). Utopia and Dystopia in Prophetic Literature. Helsinki: The Finnish Exegetical Society, University of Helsinki. pp. 41–54.

External links

Selected image


Cloud bands are clearly visible on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS.

Selected meteor

Complex turbulence

Complex turbulence in belts passes by a circular white storm during Perijove 9, uploaded on November 19, 2017. Credit: NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran.{{fairuse}}
Selected moon


A true color image of Ganymede is acquired by the Galileo spacecraft on June 26, 1996. Credit: NASA/JPL.
This is global pictoral map of Ganymede. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/USGS.

"If Ganymede rotated around the Sun rather than around Jupiter, it would be classified as a planet."[1]

The Galilean Moons is a "name given to Jupiter's four largest moons, Io, Europa, Callisto & Ganymede. They were discovered independently by Galileo Galilei and Simon Marius."[2]

"Ganymede has a very distinct surface with bright and dark regions. The surface includes mountains, valleys, craters and lava flows. The darker regions are more heavily littered with craters implying that those regions are older. The largest dark region is named Galileo Regio and is almost 2000 miles [3200 km] in diameter. The lighter regions display extensive series of troughs and ridges, thought to be a result of tectonic movement."[1]

"A notable attribute of the craters on Ganymede is that they are not very deep and don’t have mountains around the edges of them as can normally be seen around craters on other moons and planets. The reason for this is that the crust of Ganymede is relatively soft and over a geological time frame has flattened out the extreme elevation changes."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bjorn Jonsson and Steve Albers (October 17, 2000). Ganymede (Jupiter moon). NOAA. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  2. Aravind V R (April 17, 2012). Astronomy glossary. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
Selected theory

Planetary sciences

This is a schematic of Jupiter's magnetosphere and the components influenced by Io (near the center of the image). Credit: John Spencer.

The image at right represents "[t]he Jovian magnetosphere [magnetic field lines in blue], including the Io flux tube [in green], Jovian aurorae, the sodium cloud [in yellow], and sulfur torus [in red]."[1]

"Io may be considered to be a unipolar generator which develops an emf [electromotive force] of 7 x 105 volts across its radial diameter (as seen from a coordinate frame fixed to Jupiter)."[2]

"This voltage difference is transmitted along the magnetic flux tube which passes through Io. ... The current [in the flux tube] must be carried by keV electrons which are electrostatically accelerated at Io and at the top of Jupiter's ionosphere."[2]

"Io's high density (4.1 g cm-3) suggests a silicate composition. A reasonable guess for its electrical conductivity might be the conductivity of the Earth's upper mantle, 5 x 10-5 ohm-1 cm-1 (Bullard 1967)."[2]

As "a conducting body [transverses] a magnetic field [it] produces an induced electric field. ... The Jupiter-Io system ... operates as a unipolar inductor" ... Such unipolar inductors may be driven by electrical power, develop hotspots, and the "source of heating [may be] sufficient to account for the observed X-ray luminosity".[3]

"The electrical surroundings of Io provide another energy source which has been estimated to be comparable with that of the [gravitational] tides (7). A current of 5 x 106 A is ... shunted across flux tubes of the Jovian field by the presence of Io (7-9)."[4]

"[W]hen the currents [through Io] are large enough to cause ohmic heating ... currents ... contract down to narrow paths which can be kept hot, and along which the conductivity is high. Tidal heating [ensures] that the interior of Io has a very low eletrical resistance, causing a negligible extra amount of heat to be deposited by this current. ... [T]he outermost layers, kept cool by radiation into space [present] a large resistance and [result in] a concentration of the current into hotspots ... rock resistivity [and] contact resistance ... contribute to generate high temperatures on the surface. [These are the] conditions of electric arcs [that can produce] temperatures up to ionization levels ... several thousand kelvins".[4]

"[T]he outbursts ... seen [on the surface may also be] the result of the large current ... flowing in and out of the domain of Io ... Most current spots are likely to be volcanic calderas, either provided by tectonic events within Io or generated by the current heating itself. ... [A]s in any electric arc, very high temperatures are generated, and the locally evaporated materials ... are ... turned into gas hot enough to expand at a speed of 1 km/s."[4]


  1. John Spencer (November 2000). John Spencer's Astronomical Visualizations. Boulder, Colorado USA: University of Colorado. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Peter Goldreich and Donald Lynden-Bell (April 1969). "Io, a jovian unipolar inductor". The Astrophysical Journal 156 (04): 59-78. doi:10.1086/149947. 
  3. Kinwah Wu, Mark Cropper, Gavin Ramsay, and Kazuhiro Sekiguchi (March 2002). "An electrically powered binary star?". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 321 (1): 221-7. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05190.x. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Thomas Gold (November 1979). "Electrical Origin of the Outbursts on Io". Science 206 (4422): 1071-3. doi:10.1126/science.206.4422.1071.