Jupiter: The Biggest Planet in Our Solar System…

The Sun has eight planets. Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and Jupiter is the fifth. Jupiter is the biggest planet in our Solar System by far. In fact, it’s over two-and-a-half times bigger than all the other planets combined.

This photograph of Jupiter, which was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, features the planet’s amazing red spot (on the lower left). The red spot is actually a huge storm that’s been going on for at least 150 years. With winds over 400 miles per hour, it’s a storm that would do great damage to the surface of Jupiter if Jupiter had a surface. But it doesn’t. Jupiter is a huge ball made mostly of gas, so it doesn’t have a hard outer surface like the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, or Mars.

The Hubble telescope, also picture here, is in orbit about 350 miles above our home planet. Launched in 1990 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Hubble telescope has helped astronomers learn many new things about the miraculous universe that surrounds us. The Hubble has taken millions of great photos, including many close-ups of our Solar System’s biggest planet.

Hubble Space Telescope
Bright Ideas

Quotes About Space

“Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space.”
Christa McAuliffe

“Space isn’t far away at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away, if your car could go straight upwards.”
Fred Hoyle

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upward.”

“Forty years as an astronomer has not lessened my enthusiasm for lying outside after dark, looking up at the skys.”
Frank Drake

“The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nifty Fifty

About Florida

It’s a Fact: Florida is nicknamed “The Sunshine State” because it’s so sunny and warm.

It’s a Fact: The Kennedy Space Center, which is located on the east coast of Florida, is America’s main spaceport. The rocket that carried the Hubble telescope into space was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.

It’s a Fact: Florida is famous for its sunny beaches. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east coast of Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico is on the west coast.

It’s a Fact: The capital of Florida is Tallahassee. The largest cities in Florida are Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa.

It’s a Fact: The abbreviation for Florida is FL.

More Fun Facts
Fun Fact: The Earth has only one moon, but Jupiter has at least 69 of them, and probably more. Of course, some of those moons are pretty small, but several of them are quite large.

Fun Fact: Jupiter”s largest moon, called Ganymede, is the biggest moon in the Solar System. In fact, Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.

Fun Fact: Jupiter is really big! In fact, you could fit 1,300 Earths inside Jupiter, and there would still be a little room to spare.

Fun Fact: If you know when and where to look, you can see Jupiter without using a telescope. In fact, you don’t even need binoculars because Jupiter is one of the brightest objects in the nighttime sky (not counting the Moon, of course!).

Fun Fact: Galileo Galilei, the man who invented the telescope, also discovered Jupiter’s four largest moons. Today, astronomers call them the “Galilean Moons.”

Questions and Answers
Just for fun,
see if you can answer these questions.
How many moons does Jupiter have? Is it 39, 49, 59, or 69 moons?
Jupiter has 69 moons that we know of. But astronomers are likely to find more.
Is Jupiter's Great Red Spot a mountain, an ocean, an active volcano, or a storm?
The Great Red Spot is a storm on Jupiter that’s been going on for at least 150 years, and maybe longer. By the way, the Great Red Spot is shrinking and may totally vanish in 20 or 30 years.
Jupiter's moon Ganymede is larger than which planet? Is it bigger than Mercury, or Venus, or Mars?
Ganymede is bigger than the planet Mercury.
Is the capital of Florida Miami, Tallahassee, or Jacksonville.
Write Your Own Story

If you have time, you can write a story of your own.

Here are a couple of story ideas you can choose from.

Story Idea #1: You can write about some of the interesting things you learned about Jupiter.


Story Idea #2 You can write a story about an imaginary trip to Jupiter. What would your space ship look like? How big would it be? What would you see when you got there?

To help you write a great essay, we have some helpful hints and timely tips

Today's Ryder Riddle
Here's a riddle for you:
What's in the middle of Jupiter?
The letter i.
The Mystery Ryders

For fun-to-read books about a girl detective who homeschools on a train... check out The Mystery Ryders, a series from the creators of the Homeschool Express.

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