(daily way in the model 1.1m)
Looking at the planets from the sun, you can see that Jupiter is
the fifth and also the largest one. It orbits our central star at a distance of
about 778 mio. km (5.2 AU) in approximately 11.9 years.
Its diameter amounts to nearly 143,000 km, eleven times that of the earth. Despite this fact, its mass is not big enough to produce high enough temperatures in the interior to allow a nuclear reaction like in the centre of the sun. Like the sun, it is composed of hydrogen and helium and it has a strong magnetic field. One rotation takes about 10 hours. Being a gas planet, Jupiter has no firm surface and it rotates like the sun in diverse latitudes at varying speeds. In the cold atmosphere of -150°C, in which the winds blow up to 900 km/h, zones with yellow and red colourings form several belts which correspond to different dephths in the atmosphere and chemical compounds of the clouds (for example methane and ammonia). In one of these two main zones, which one can see even with a small telescope, there is the striking "Great Red Spot", a powerful storm system, which has existed for many centuries. Jupiter is surrounded by four big and - known as up to now - 24 small moons and has also developed a very faint ring system. The four large satellites, the Galilean moons, have a diameter of about 3000 to 5000 km, whereas the smaller ones are smaller than 200 km, and some of them seem like trapped asteroids. The four large moons were discovered nearly at the same time by Galileo Galilei and Simon Marius after the invention of the telescope and were an important proof of the Copernican theory. Their names from the inside to the outside are: Io, Europa, Ganymed and Kallisto. Their orbital periods are 1.7, 3.4, 7.3 and 17 days respectively. On Io they even observed volcanic eruptions and it is supposed that the moons on the outside could contain a lot of water.
The impact of the comet Shoemaker-Levi 9 on Jupiter could be watched in the year 1994 and reminded us that Jupiter sweeps away a big part of the comets which could come within a dangerous distance to the earth.
In all old cultures Jupiter held an outstanding position above all other planets because of its brightness. Jupiter needs about 12 years for a rotation around the sun, that`s why in one year it moves on for just under 30° in the sky, which corresponds to one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. The number 12 was already considered an excellent number in Babylon; our division of the year in 12 months and the division of the day in (2x) 12 hours perhaps originates from there. In the Greek and Roman myth Zeus/Jupiter was the son of Chronos/ Saturn. Zeus/Jupiter won a race for the kingdom of the heavens and he threw his father Chronos/Saturn out of the celestial wagon. This story of celestial myth has the following, real background : In the Ancient World it was seen as a fight of the gods, when Jupiter and Saturn came into conjunction three times and passed by each other with a falling position at the same time.
There is not such an occurrence very often and it was taken as a basis for the star of Bethlehem in the Christian myth. With the princess Europa, Zeus/ Jupiter became father to the Cretan king Minos, who gave his name to one of the oldest and highest European cultures. In the Babylonian world, planet Jupiter corresponds to god Marduk or god Baal, in the Nordic cultures to Thor.
The day that is dedicated to Jupiter is Thursday, German: Donnerstag, Italian: giovedi, French: jeudi.