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Jupiter compared to Earth. Image credit: NASA

Jupiter Compared to Earth

22 Dec , 2008


Often, scientists and teachers talk about the massive size of Jupiter without putting it into perspective. Unless Jupiter is compared to Earth, it can be hard to fully understand the planet’s enormity. Below, Jupiter’s measurements are given then compared to Earth.

Mass…Jupiter has a mass of 1.8981 x 1027 kg. That is over 317 times the mass of Earth.
Volume…Jupiter’s volume is1.43128 x 1015 km3. That is 1,321 times Earth’s volume.
Surface area…The surface area of Jupiter is 6.1419 x 1010 km2. Earth is over 120 times smaller.
Mean circumference…Jupiter has a mean circumference of of 4.39264 x 105 km, which is nearly 11 times larger than Earth’s.
Density…Jupiter has a low density of 1.326 g/cm3, less than 25% of Earth’s.
Sidereal rotation period…Jupiter rotates every 9.92496 hours compared to Earth’s 24.
Surface gravity…The surface gravity of Jupiter is 2.53 times that on Earth. While scientists have calculated Jupiter’s gravity, the planet does not have a solid surface.
Average surface temperature…The average surface temperature of Jupiter is -108.15 C. Earth’s average temperature is 15 C.
Moons…Everyone knows that Earth has one moon. Jupiter has 63 confirmed moons a few more suspected satellites.

The planet’s fast rotation combined with its magnetic field and other variables creates a violent atmosphere. Winds can top 600 kph. Storms often form within hours and can last for years. The Great Red Spot is a storm that has measured more than 40,000 km in diameter and has been observed through telescopes since the late 1600s.

Several of Jupiter’s moons are of interest to scientists. Io piques their interest because it is the most volcanically active body in our Solar System. Spacecraft have returned data the indicates the moon Europa harbors a vast ocean under its surface ice. Some scientist believe the ocean may contain life in some form. Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System and is the only moon known to have its own magnetic field. The moon Callisto appears to have a small subsurface ocean and has some of the oldest surface features in the Solar System.

Jupiter, compared to Earth is a true giant. Despite its size, it is not the largest known planet. TrES-4 has that distinction. Hopefully, you have found everything you need to know about Jupiter and want to know more.

Want to see some other comparisons? Here’s Earth compared to Mercury and Earth compared to Mars.

Want more information on Jupiter? Here’s a link to Hubblesite’s News Releases about Jupiter, and here’s NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide.

We have recorded a podcast just about Jupiter for Astronomy Cast. Click here and listen to Episode 56: Jupiter.

Source: NASA

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