Planet Guide and Information - Jupiter

Distance from Sun (average)
778 million km
142,600 km
Length of day
9 hours 50 minutes
Length of year
12 years
Mean surface temperature

Jupiter offers probably the most spectacular sight in the solar system to observers through medium-sized telescopes. It has more mass than all the other planets put together although it is made chiefly of hydrogen and helium - in its upper layers at least. Cloud formations give rise to the characteristic dark and light belts and it is possible to follow the planet's rapid rotation by observing the motion of these belts. The different colours are caused by the production of various gaseous compounds, the nature of which is dependent on temperature. Clouds higher in the atmosphere are cooler than those lower down. The famous Great Red Spot is a huge storm which is bigger in diameter than our own planet.