IR view of Jupiter's atmosphere by New Horizons, a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to Pluto.

IR view of Jupiter's atmosphere by New Horizons, a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to Pluto.

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Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It has 67 moons which orbit around it. The spot in the lower left is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that has existed since the 17th century.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It has 67 moons which orbit around it. The spot in the lower left is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that has existed since the 17th century.

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callisto. one of jupiter's moons and one of my very favorite things in space. - Bing Images

callisto. one of jupiter's moons and one of my very favorite things in space. - Bing Images

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Time-lapse sequence from the approach of Voyager 1 to Jupiter.  V-Ger.
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Like the sun, Jupiter is composed predominantly of hydrogen & helium. But unlike the sun, it lacks the necessary amount to begin fusion, the process that fuels a star. Jupiter would need to be 75-80 times more massive than it is at present to be considered a star. If all of the planets in the solar system had formed as part of the gas giant, it still would not have sufficient mass. Still, by itself, Jupiter is 2 & 1/2 times larger than all of the other planets in the solar system combined.

Like the sun, Jupiter is composed predominantly of hydrogen & helium. But unlike the sun, it lacks the necessary amount to begin fusion, the process that fuels a star. Jupiter would need to be 75-80 times more massive than it is at present to be considered a star. If all of the planets in the solar system had formed as part of the gas giant, it still would not have sufficient mass. Still, by itself, Jupiter is 2 & 1/2 times larger than all of the other planets in the solar system combined.

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A BIG view of the Little Red Spot. @NASAJuno spacecraft snapped this shot of Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere on 12/11: http://go.nasa.gov/2jT2lfB

A BIG view of the Little Red Spot. @NASAJuno spacecraft snapped this shot of Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere on 12/11: http://go.nasa.gov/2jT2lfB

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