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The fifth planet from the sun is a huge ball of gas so massive it could hold all the other  planets put together. What we can see of the planet are bands of the highest clouds in a thick  atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Traces of other gases produce the bright bands of color.

The Red Spot 

Jupiter's most familiar feature is swirling mass of clouds that are higher and  cooler than surrounding ones. Called the Great Red Spot, it has been likened to a  great hurricane and is caused by tremendous winds that develop above the rapidly  spinning planet. Winds blow counterclockwise around this disturbance at about  250 miles per hour. Hurricanes on Earth rarely generate winds over 180 miles an  hour.

The Red Spot is twice the size of Earth and has been raging for at least 300  years. It is one of several storms on Jupiter.

Inside Jupiter

At Jupiter's center is a core of rock many times the mass of Earth. But the bulk  of the planet is a thick gaseous murk that appears smeared through a telescope  because the planet moves so rapidly beneath. Jupiter's rapid rotation causes it to  bulge, making the diameter 7 percent greater at the equator than at the poles.

Around Jupiter

Jupiter has thin, barely perceptible rings and at least 16 satellites. The four  largest-- Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto -- are called the Galilean moons.

They orbit in the same plane and are all visible in a telescope.

Jupiter: ruler of the roman gods, also jove

Historical notes 

Jupiter was believed by Mesopotamians to be a wandering star placed in the  heavens by a god to watch over the night sky. In 1610, Galileo Galilei used a 20x  telescope to observe three "stars" around Jupiter. Over several nights he  observed these "stars," but each night they were in different positions, leading to  his conclusion that they were bodies orbiting the giant planet.

In 1994, astronomers around the world watched as the fragments of comet  Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter -- an event that had been forecast. This image  shows a bright cloud more than 8,600 miles in diameter caused by the impact.

Final fact

You could stuff 1,300 Earths into Jupiter.

Список литературы

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