Exploring Jupiter: hurricanes and seas of metallic hydrogen

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 15:30 in Astronomy & Space

The Juno probe will plunge into the gas giant to reveal the secrets that lie below its clouds. Here's what we already knowFrom afar, the largest planet in the solar system is a swirl of brown, yellow and white clouds, topped off with a distinctive red blemish, the mark of a raging 300-year-old storm that would smother the Earth many times over.Jupiter is a gas giant and, after the Sun, the most massive object in the solar system. The planet spins fast, making a day last only 10 hours and the equator bulge out to a diameter of 89,000 miles. All the planets in the solar system, or more than 1,300 Earths, would fit inside the space Jupiter occupies.Jupiter is a distant planet, more than five times further from the sun than Earth. The orbit takes Jupiter 12 Earth years to complete.Like all gas giants, Jupiter has no surface in...

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