Jupiter is a gas giant, although it is speculated, but not confirmed, that it has a small core of rocky materials. Above the core lies the main bulk of the planet in the form of liquid metallic hydrogen.
This vaporous giant is the largest planet in our solar system, bigger than all the other planets, moons, asteroids and comets combined. A day on Jupiter lasts less than ten hours; considering its size, it’s amazing how fast it spins! Jupiter has sixteen moons, which were seen first by Galileo with his new telescope in early 1610. Jupiter is the brightest planet on average (although Venus rivals it for brightness).
From the perspective of Earth, Jupiter appears to go retrograde slightly over thirty percent of the year, or for roughly three-and-a-half months. During a Jupiter retrograde, you may notice a tightening of purse strings. People tend to keep themselves from expanding too much. Egos can sometimes get deflated during the retrograde. There seems to be a withdrawal of energy in general.
Jupiter takes twelve years to orbit the Sun, so it returns to its natal position every twelve years. The return is considered a lucky period, excellent for viewing long-term cycles in one’s life; fortune and good spirits that were in play previously may repeat themselves in the year of the return. Generally speaking, Jupiter offers an optimistic, grand influence that propels one forward into the future with big plans.
This video is an adaptation of the breezy Science on a Sphere production by supremely talented members of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. This video explores Jupiter’s role as the 800 pound gorilla of our solar system, with stops on its fascinating moons and the big red spot. Additional video from NASA JPL and ESA Hubble.