Gravity

Which planet in our solar system has the strongest gravitational pull?

And the answer is: Jupiter.  

Photo credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley)

Every planet has a different gravitational pull. As the largest and most massive planet in our solar system, Jupiter has the strongest gravity. In fact, on Jupiter you would weigh 2.4 times what you do on Earth.

Jupiter isn't just the largest planet in our solar system – it's also one with some of the most interesting qualities. Scientists sometimes refer to this giant as a "failed star" due to the large amount of helium and hydrogen in its atmosphere, but Jupiter does not have enough mass to trigger a fusion reaction at its core. If our solar system had about four more Jupiters to put together, this gas giant might have a chance at star status. Until then, though, it'll keep on spinning as our solar system's fifth planet from the sun.

While it can't become a star, Jupiter is capable of a few weird things. For one, if Jupiter were to grow in mass, it would actually get smaller. Additional mass on the planet would cause it to grow in density, and therefore its gravity would increase and pull the planet inward.

Jupiter is also home to an eternal storm (which might be just as ominous as it sounds). The Great Red Spot that's often visible on Jupiter's surface is a persistent, anticyclonic storm that's been raging on the planet for millennia. In fact, the Spot was first identified in 1665 by astronomer Giovani Cassini. Today, it's big enough to contain two or three Earth-sized planets, but at the time of its discovery it was estimated to be almost twice as large.

Jupiter shines so brightly that it's visible to the naked eye. So, next time you want to feel grateful for the lack of eternal, gaseous storms on our lovely Earth's surface, train your eyes high in the sky. If you're lucky, you might catch a moon or two, too.

Check out this article for more mind-blowing Jupiter facts.  


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