Explorations of Jupiter

Message on its way to Europa

This looks like the planchette on a Ouija Board also used to bring messages.

NASA unveils design for message heading to Jupiter's moon Europa  
PhysOrg - March 10, 2024

New Revelations Dash Hopes For Alien Life on Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa
  Science Alert - March 9, 2024

JWST Dropped a Picture of Jupiter   Science Alert - July 13, 2022

NASA's Juno Spacecraft

About Jupiter

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Together, these four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian or outer planets.

The planet was known by astronomers of ancient times and was associated with the mythology and religious beliefs of many cultures. The Romans named the planet after the Roman god Jupiter. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach an apparent magnitude of -2.94, making it on average the third-brightest object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus. (Mars can briefly match Jupiter's brightness at certain points in its orbit.)

Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium; it may also have a rocky core of heavier elements. Because of its rapid rotation, Jupiter's shape is that of an oblate spheroid (it possesses a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator). The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries.

A prominent result is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding the planet is a faint planetary ring system and a powerful magnetosphere. There are also at least 66 moons, including the four large moons called the Galilean moons that were first discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these moons, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.

Jupiter has been explored on several occasions by robotic spacecraft, most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions and later by the Galileo orbiter. The most recent probe to visit Jupiter was the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft in late February 2007. The probe used the gravity from Jupiter to increase its speed. Future targets for exploration in the Jovian system include the possible ice-covered liquid ocean on the moon Europa.

Jupiter has been known since ancient times and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. In 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter using a telescope, the first observation of moons other than Earth's.

Jupiter is 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets combined, so massive that its barycenter with the Sun actually lies above the Sun's surface (1.068 solar radii from the Sun's center). It is 318 times more massive than Earth, with a diameter 11 times that of Earth, and with a volume 1300 times that of Earth. It has been termed by many a "failed star", even though the comparison would be akin to calling an asteroid "a failed Earth".

As impressive as it is, extrasolar planets have been discovered with much greater masses. However, it is thought to have about as large a diameter as a planet of its composition can, as adding extra mass would only result in further gravitational compression (until ignition occurs). There is no clear-cut definition of what distinguishes a large and massive planet such as Jupiter from a brown dwarf, although the latter possesses rather specific spectral lines, but in any case Jupiter would need to be about seventy times as massive if it were to become a star.

Jupiter also has the fastest rotation rate of any planet within the solar system, making a complete revolution on its axis in slightly less than ten hours, which results in a flattening easily seen through an Earth-based amateur telescope. Its best known feature is probably the Great Red Spot, a storm larger than Earth. The planet is perpetually covered with a layer of clouds.

Jupiter is usually the fourth brightest object in the sky (after the Sun, the Moon and Venus; however at times Mars appears brighter than Jupiter, while at others Jupiter appears brighter than Venus). It has been known since ancient times. Galileo Galilei's discovery, in 1610, of Jupiter's four large moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto (now known as the Galilean moons) was the first discovery of a celestial motion not apparently centered on the Earth. It was a major point in favor of Copernicus' heliocentric theory of the motions of the planets; Galileo's outspoken support of the Copernican theory got him in trouble with the Inquisition.

The giant planet Jupiter was formed four times further from the sun than its current orbit, and migrated inwards in the solar system over a period of 700,000 years. Researchers found proof of this incredible journey thanks to a group of asteroids close to Jupiter.   Science Daily - March 22, 2019

Physical Characteristics, Lightning, and Atmosphere

Jupiter is composed of a relatively small rocky core, surrounded by metallic hydrogen, surrounded by liquid hydrogen, which is surrounded by gaseous hydrogen. There is no clear boundary or surface between these different phases of hydrogen; the conditions blend smoothly from gas to liquid as one descends.

The atmosphere contains trace amounts of methane, water vapor, ammonia, and "rock". There are also traces of carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulfide, neon, oxygen, phosphine, and sulfur. The outermost layer of the atmosphere contains crystals of frozen ammonia.This atmospheric composition is very close to the composition of the solar nebula. Saturn has a similar composition, but Uranus and Neptune have much less hydrogen and helium.

Jupiter's upper atmosphere undergoes differential rotation, an effect first noticed by Giovanni Cassini (1690). The rotation of Jupiter's polar atmosphere is ~5 minutes longer than that of the equatorial atmosphere. In addition, bands of clouds of different latitudes flow in opposing directions on the prevailing winds. The interactions of these conflicting circulation patterns cause storms and turbulence. Wind speeds of 600 km/h are not uncommon. A particularly violent storm, about three times Earth's diameter, is known as the Great Red Spot.

Breathtaking New Photos Show Jupiter's Hypnotic Swirling Storms, And How Is This Real?   Science Alert - July 29, 2022

Ever since space probe Juno gave us our first incredible views of the poles of Jupiter, the regions have fascinated and mesmerized us. In one of the latest pictures Juno has sent back of the north pole, you can see why: a medley of storm vortices, connected and interconnected, appearing serene from a distance, but raging with an intensity we can only imagine here on Earth.

Lightning 'Sprites' Have Been Detected on Jupiter For The First Time   Live Science - October 29, 2020

NASA's Juno spacecraft just captured images of colorful bursts of lightning-like electricity high in Jupiter's atmosphere. These phenomena, which include jellyfish-shaped 'sprites' and glowing disks called 'elves', also occur high up in Earth's atmosphere during thunderstorms.

Juno solves 39-year old mystery of Jupiter lightning   PhysOrg - June 7, 2018
Ever since NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft flew past Jupiter in March, 1979, scientists have wondered about the origin of Jupiter's lightning. That encounter confirmed the existence of Jovian lightning, which had been theorized for centuries. But when the venerable explorer hurtled by, the data showed that the lightning-associated radio signals didn't match the details of the radio signals produced by lightning here at Earth. In a new paper published in Nature today, scientists from NASA's Juno mission describe the ways in which lightning on Jupiter is actually analogous to Earth's lightning. Although, in some ways, the two types of lightning are polar opposites.

The strange storms on Jupiter   PhysOrg - September 28, 2020

'Diamond rain' falls on Saturn and Jupiter   BBC - October 14, 2013
Diamonds that are the right size to have been worn by stars of the Silver Screen could rain down on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated. New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form, they say. Lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond.

Fireballs Light Up Jupiter   Science Daily - September 11, 2010
Amateur astronomers working with professional astronomers have spotted two fireballs lighting up Jupiter's atmosphere this summer, marking the first time Earth-based telescopes have captured relatively small objects burning up in the atmosphere of the giant planet. The two fireballs -- which produced bright freckles on Jupiter that were visible through backyard telescopes -- occurred on June 3, 2010, and August 20, 2010, respectively.


Auroras and the Magnetosphere of Jupiter   APOD - April 6, 2016

NASA's Juno probe discovered a giant new storm swirling near Jupiter's south pole last month, a few weeks after pulling off a dramatic death-dodging maneuver. Juno spied the newfound maelstrom, which is about as wide as Texas, on Nov. 3, during its most recent close flyby of Jupiter. The storm joins a family of six other cyclones in Jupiter's south polar region, which Juno had spotted on previous passes by the gas giant. (Those encounters also revealed nine cyclones near Jupiter's north pole, by the way.)

NASA's Juno reveals dark origins of one of Jupiter's grand light shows   PhysOrg - March 17, 2021

New results from the Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument on NASA's Juno mission reveal for the first time the birth of auroral dawn storms—the early morning brightening unique to Jupiter's spectacular aurorae. These immense, transient displays of light occur at both Jovian poles and had previously been observed only by ground-based and Earth-orbiting observatories, notably NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Huge New Storm Creates Hexagon at Jupiter's South Pole   Live Science - December 15, 2019

NASA's Juno probe discovered a giant new storm swirling near Jupiter's south pole last month, a few weeks after pulling off a dramatic death-dodging maneuver. Juno spied the newfound maelstrom, which is about as wide as Texas, on Nov. 3, during its most recent close flyby of Jupiter. The storm joins a family of six other cyclones in Jupiter's south polar region, which Juno had spotted on previous passes by the gas giant. (Those encounters also revealed nine cyclones near Jupiter's north pole, by the way.)

Spectacular aurora lights up Jupiter's North Pole   The Guardian - June 30, 2016

The image of the Northern Lights was taken ahead of the arrival of Nasa's spaceship Juno next week which will spend a year monitoring the largest planet in the Solar System. Jupiter is known for its colorful storms such as the Great Red Spot which swirls constantly in the planet's atmosphere. But it's powerful magnetic field also means it has spectacular light shows at its poles. Just like on Earth, auroras are created when high energy particles enter a planet's atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas.'

Jupiter has auroras. Like near the Earth, the magnetic field of our Solar System's largest planet compresses when impacted by a gust of charged particles from the Sun. This magnetic compression funnels charged particles towards Jupiter's poles and down into the atmosphere. There, electrons are temporarily excited or knocked away from atmospheric gases, after which, when de-exciting or recombining with atmospheric ions, auroral light is emitted. The featured illustration portrays the magnificent magnetosphere around Jupiter in action. In the inset image released last month, the Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory shows unexpectedly powerful X-ray light emitted by Jovian auroras, depicted in false-colored purple. That Chandra inset is superposed over an optical image taken at a different time by the Hubble Space Telescope. This aurora on Jupiter was seen in October 2011, several days after the Sun emitted a powerful Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).

Aurora on Jupiter. Three bright dots are created by magnetic flux tubes that connect to the Jovian moons Io (on the left), Ganymede and Europa on the bottom. In addition, the very bright almost circular region, called the main oval, and the fainter polar aurora can be seen.

Jupiter has a very large and powerful magnetosphere. In fact, if you could see Jupiter's magnetic field from Earth, it would appear five times as large as the full moon in the sky despite being so much farther away. This magnetic field collects a large flux of particle radiation in Jupiter's radiation belts, as well as producing a dramatic gas torus and flux tube associated with Io. Jupiter's magnetosphere is the largest planetary structure in the solar system.

The Pioneer probes confirmed the existence that Jupiter's enormous magnetic field is 10 times stronger than Earth's and contains 20,000 times as much energy. The sensitive instruments aboard found that the Jovian magnetic field's "north" magnetic pole is at the planet's geographic south pole, with the axis of the magnetic field tilted 11 degrees from the Jovian rotation axis and offset from the center of Jupiter in a manner similar to the axis of the Earth's field. The Pioneers measured the bow shock of the Jovian magnetosphere to the width of 26 million kilometres (16 million miles), with the magnetic tail extending beyond Saturn's orbit.

The data showed that the magnetic field fluctuates rapidly in size on the sunward side of Jupiter because of pressure variations in the solar wind, an effect studied in further detail by the two Voyager spacecraft. It was also discovered that streams of high-energy atomic particles are ejected from the Jovian magnetosphere and travel as far as the orbit of the Earth. Energetic protons were found and measured in the Jovian radiation belt and electric currents were detected flowing between Jupiter and some of its moons, particularly Io.

The Great Red Spot

The calm at the center of the Great Red Spot: New study of Jupiter's giant storm finds hurricane-like winds blow at 450mph at its edge - but its middle is strangely calm   Daily Mail - November 6, 2018
These and other aspects of this phenomenon are the focus of the research that the Juno mission will be conducting over the next few years. The Great Red Spot, observed for the first time with certainty 150 years ago, shows up through the telescope owing to its reddish color against the white, yellowish, ochre clouds contrasting with the rest of the planet. Despite the numerous studies conducted on the storm, its nature poses a huge challenge for meteorologists.

Jupiter's Moons

There are 67 known moons of Jupiter. This gives Jupiter the largest number of moons with reasonably secure orbits of any planet in the Solar System. The most massive of them, the four Galilean moons, were discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei and were the first objects found to orbit a body that was neither Earth nor the Sun. From the end of the 19th century, dozens of much smaller Jovian moons have been discovered and have received the names of lovers, conquests, or daughters of the Roman god Jupiter or his Greek equivalent Zeus. The Galilean moons are by far the largest and most massive objects in orbit around Jupiter, with the remaining 63 moons and the rings together comprising just 0.003% of the total orbiting mass.

Of Jupiter's moons, eight are regular satellites with prograde and nearly circular orbits that are not greatly inclined with respect to Jupiter's equatorial plane. The Galilean satellites are nearly spherical in shape due to having planetary mass, and so would be considered planets if they were in direct orbit around the Sun. The other four regular satellites are much smaller and closer to Jupiter; these serve as sources of the dust that makes up Jupiter's rings. The remainder of Jupiter's moons are irregular satellites whose prograde and retrograde orbits are much farther from Jupiter and have high inclinations and eccentricities. These moons were probably captured by Jupiter from solar orbits. 16 irregular satellites have been discovered since 2003 and have not yet been named.

A Newborn Jupiter Could Have Been Bright Enough to Bake Its Moons   Science Alert - March 30, 2023

Jupiter's Largest Moons All Have Aurorae That Glow Deep Red And 15x Brighter Than Ours   Science Alert - February 21, 2023

Like Earth, these dazzling displays result from charged solar particles interacting with Jupiter's magnetic field and atmosphere.

Stunning New NASA Pic Reveals Lava Glowing Red Hot on Jupiter's Moon Io   Science Alert - December 16, 2022

Io is home to hundreds of volcanoes, NASA has found. Surprisingly, scientists found more volcanic spots in the polar region than in the planet's equatorial region.

Underwater snow gives clues about Europa's icy shell   PhysOrg - August 15, 2022

The shell of Jupiter's famous ice moon may be formed, in part, by pure underwater snow that floats up instead of falling down.

Shadow of Jupiter's largest moon looms in magnificent new Juno photo   Space.com - April 24, 2022
Giant Jupiter and the shadow of its biggest moon, Ganymede, dominate the view in this latest image from the system based on a NASA spacecraft's data.

Water vapor detected on Jupiter's ocean moon Europa   Space.com - October 18, 2021

Hubble had previously detected water vapor on Europa - in apparent plumes that arise sporadically and temporarily extend perhaps 120 miles (200 kilometers) into space from the moon's icy shell, which overlies a huge, buried ocean of liquid water. But this new finding is something quite different.

Hubble finds first evidence of water vapor on Jupiter's moon Ganymede   PhysOrg - July 26, 2021

Astronomers have uncovered evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Ganymede. This water vapor forms when ice from the moon's surface sublimates - that is, turns from solid to gas   Science Daily - July 26, 2021

FM Radio Signal Detected Coming from Jupiter's Moon Ganymede   Mysterious Universe - January 14, 2021
Not only was the signal natural, the event was so insignificant that the response to the media was delivered by Patrick Wiggins, one of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors in Utah. These are over 1,000 volunteer ambassadors many with backgrounds in science, space, teaching, etc. who engage with the public to communicate information on NASA’s missions.

A dozen new moons of Jupiter discovered, including one 'oddball'   Science Daily - July 17, 2018
Twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter have been found -- 11 'normal' outer moons, and one that they're calling an 'oddball.' Astronomers first spotted the moons in the spring of 2017 while they were looking for very distant solar system objects as part of the hunt for a possible massive planet far beyond Pluto.

Hubble spots possible water plumes erupting on Jupiter's moon Europa   PhysOrg - September 26, 2016
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high-altitude water vapor plumes. The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa's ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.

Hubble discovers water vapor venting from Jupiter's moon Europa   Science Daily - December 12, 2013
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface. Europa is already thought to harbor a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, making the moon one of the main targets in the search for habitable worlds away from Earth. This new finding is the first observational evidence of water vapor being ejected off the moon's surface.

Planetary Rings

The planet Jupiter has a system of rings, known as the rings of Jupiter or the Jovian ring system. It was the third ring system to be discovered in the Solar System, after those of Saturn and Uranus. It was first observed in 1979 by the Voyager 1 space probe and thoroughly investigated in the 1990s by the Galileo orbiter. It has also been observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and from Earth for the past 23 years. Ground-based observations of the rings require the largest available telescopes.

The Jovian ring system is faint and consists mainly of dust. It has four main components: a thick inner torus of particles known as the "halo ring"; a relatively bright, exceptionally thin "main ring"; and two wide, thick and faint outer "gossamer rings", named for the moons of whose material they are composed: Amalthea and Thebe.

The main and halo rings consist of dust ejected from the moons Metis, Adrastea and other unobserved parent bodies as the result of high-velocity impacts. High-resolution images obtained in February and March 2007 by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a rich fine structure in the main ring.

In visible and near-infrared light, the rings have a reddish color, except the halo ring, which is neutral or blue in color. The size of the dust in the rings varies, but the cross-sectional area is greatest for nonspherical particles of radius about 15 um in all rings except the halo. The halo ring is probably dominated by submicrometre dust.

Jupiter's Rings Are Shaped By Interplay Of Sunlight And Shadow Science Daily - May 1, 2008
A new study reported that a faint extension of the outermost ring beyond the orbit of Jupiter's moon Thebe, and other observed deviations from an accepted model of ring formation, result from the interplay of shadow and sunlight on dust particles that make up the rings. It turns out that the outer ring's extended boundary and other in Jupiter's rings really are 'made in the shade.


In Roman mythology, Jupiter held the same role as Zeus in the Greek pantheon. He was called Juppiter Optimus Maximus Soter (Jupiter Best, Greatest, Saviour) as the patron deity of the Roman state, in charge of laws and social order. He was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with Juno and Minerva.

Jupiter is a vocative compound derived from archaic Latin Iovis and pater (Latin for father), this was also used as the nominative case. Jove is an English formation based on Iov-, the stem of oblique cases of the Latin name. Its Vedic equivalent is Dyaus Pita. The name of the god was also adopted as the name of the planet Jupiter, and was the original namesake of the weekday that would come to be known in English as Thursday (the etymological root can be seen in various Romance languages, including (accusative Iovem, genitive Iovis, dative Iovi and ablative Iove - an irregular declension). Linguistic studies identify his name as deriving from the Indo-European compound "O Father God", the Indo-European deity from whom also derive the Germanic Tiwaz (after whom Tuesday was named), the Greek Zeus, and the French jeudi, Castilian jueves, Italian giovedď and Catalan dijous, all from Latin Iovis Dies, whereas English takes his Norse equivalent, Thor).

The largest temple in Rome was that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill. Here he was worshipped alongside Juno and Minerva, forming the Capitoline Triad. Jupiter was also worshipped at Capitoline Hill in the form of a stone, known as Iuppiter Lapis or the Jupiter Stone, which was sworn upon as an oath stone. Temples to Jupiter Optimus Maximus or the Capitoline Triad as a whole were commonly built by the Romans at the center of new cities in their colonies.

It was once believed that the Roman god Jupiter was in charge of cosmic Justice, and in ancient Rome, people swore to Jove in their courts of law, which lead to the common expression "By Jove!", still used as an archaism today. In addition, "Jovial" is a medium-common adjective still used to describe people who are jolly, optimistic, and buoyant in temperament.

Jupiter, as Zeus, Z, in Greek mythology is the king of heaven and Earth and of all the Olympian gods. He is sometimes depicted throwing zig-zig lightning bolts to remind humans that reality is created by electromagnetic energy which moves the magic and mystery of our hologram through grid consciousness towards Zero Point.

In Roman mythology, Jupiter was known as the god of justice. He was named king of the gods in the special meeting that followed his overthrow of the god Saturn (Cronus in Greek mythology) and the Titans. In the council of the gods that followed Saturn's overthrow, Jupiter was crowned Lord of Heaven and Earth and of all the gods. Jupiter granted Neptune dominion over the Sea,
and his other brother Pluto dominion over the underworld.


Aliens most likely to be found on icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, UK scientists suggest   The Telegraph - April 16, 2013
This follows the setting up of the UK Centre for Astrobiology, which has been launched to investigate whether there is life beyond Earth. The centre is examining life on Earth and has set up an underground laboratory in Yorkshire a kilometre below the surface to examine how life survives there and search for indicators of how this could extend to other planets, particularly Mars where it is now believed that life could exist below the surface because of its harsh conditions.

New Finding Ups the Chances of Life on Jupiter's Moon Europa   Live Science - November 17, 2011
Europa, Jupiter's icy moon, meets not one but two of the critical requirements for life, scientists say. For decades, experts have known about the moon's vast underground ocean - a possible home for living organisms - and now a study shows that the ocean regularly receives influxes of the energy required for life via chaotic processes near the moon's surface.

One pseudoscience theory states that life on Europa is connected
to dolphins on planet Earth, communication via telepathic tones.


Jupiter is the method each of us has for dealing with the laws of life, our Saturn or limitations. The Hindu word for Jupiter is Guru and this planet indicates our particular Dharma, the way we can solve the problems that confront us. Thus Jupiter has to do with our vocation, the way in which we can be successful. Jupiter is the light or path. The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter represents the principles of growth and expansion.

November 22 (11/22)

Sun in Sagittarius

Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter.

In Roman mythology, Jupiter held the same role as Zeus in the Greek pantheon. Zeus is Z aka Zoroaster which takes us to the Anunnaki, Thoth, and others including Jesus depending on which storyline (myth) you are referencing. One soul played all the roles.