Jovian storm by Jupiter (Photo: NASA)
Jovian Storm by Mayank Chhaya
Jupiter is a wannabe star. Had it grown bigger it may have ignited enough and then who knows? It is said that if there were 1000 Jupiters fused together there could have been a rival star to the sun in our solar system. For now though we have to be content with one monstrous gas giant among us.
Purely as a comparison Jupiter is massive enough to envelop 1000 Earths. Its core, if it has any, would be the size of Earth. It is more massive than the rest of the planets in our solar system combined and then some more.
The scientific community is completely convinced that had it not been for Jupiter, there would not have been any us with all our ridiculous certitudes and stupid little squabbles. Jupiter has been described as a preserver and nurturer because of where it is in our solar system and the way it so magnificently acts as Earth’s protector.
At 778 million km (484 million miles) from the sun and its 67 moons Jupiter takes 12 earth years to complete one orbit around the sun. With no known surface, the gas giant’s clouds are an eternally swirling toxic mix of ammonia and other unknown chemicals. Storms just rage on with no landfall to make. Despite its monstrous size it rotates very fast—spinning once every ten hours. That fast spin churns up the toxic brew in its atmosphere to create what is easily the most strikingly beautiful mélange of shapes and colors in our solar system. It is paradoxical that the more toxic something is, the more bewitchingly beautiful it is.
It is said that once our sun has become a white dwarf some five billion years from now, Jupiter will still go on because of its internal furnace. It is just as well because Jupiter grabbed most of the material left over by the sun after its formation.
So please pay respect, people, and say By Jupiter. If you must thank something today, start with Jupiter.