Jupiter, also known as The King of the Planets due to its fame as the largest planet orbiting the sun, is expected to shine tonight as it takes its spot near our moon. Watchers under the western sky will be able to see it around mid-twilight, about an hour after sunset. In the form of a silvery white star, Jupiter will be positioned on the west-southwest horizon.

The moon and Jupiter will be the brightest objects in tonight’s sky before disappearing in the western horizon around 1 a.m., as reported by Alabama Media Group. Named after the King of Romans gods, Jupiter is typically the fourth-brightest object in the sky after the sun, the moon and Venus, which is dull and kind of lost in the sun’s glare this month.

Jupiter will shine Saturday night
The image shows a reference as to where to look for Jupiter on Saturday night. Credit: Nj.com

Because it contains more than twice the amount of material of the other planets in the solar system combined, scientists believe Jupiter received most of the material left over from the sun’s formation. The most widely accepted theory of the solar system’s formation says that it emerged after the collapse of a cloud of gas and dust.

Most of this mass served to form the sun, and the rest clumped together to form the moons, planets, comets, and asteroids. During this process, Jupiter became the most massive planet as it collected more than half of the material left over.

“We have a planet that is bigger than all the other planets. All the other planets could fit inside Jupiter, and there would still be room left over,” as told to the International Business Times UK by Scott Bolton, lead researcher on the Juno mission.

The giant planet has three rings, with the thicker inner one known as the “halo.” The outer ones are called “gossamer” rings and all of them were discovered in 1979 by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft.

Jupiter has 67 moons, 17 of which remain unconfirmed. With an early version of the telescope, astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610 was able to observe Jupiter’s largest moons –Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto – for the first time.

Juno: the study of Jupiter origins could answer questions related to the formation of the solar system

NASA’s Juno mission is scheduled to enter Jupiter’s orbit on 4 July. The biggest outstanding questions, according to Bolton, are whether there is a core of heavy elements in the planet’s center and how much water Jupiter has. Scientists also want to know how deep the belts and zones are, according to IB Times UK.

Studying the celestial body’s magnetic field, atmosphere, and inner structure will allow scientists to understand better the solar system’s formation or, as Bolton puts it, “the whole recipe.” Juno’s main goal is to provide insights about the first step to creating planets, comets, asteroids and all the elements that form a solar system.

Juno’s scientists want to understand the origin of the planets and stars and how the processes differ to result in a wide variety of elements that end up orbiting a parent star. But what is even more interesting is that understanding Jupiter’s formation could reveal astronomers the origins of other solar systems.

Bolton noted that previous spacecraft, Voyager, and Galileo, taught scientists many basic things and helped them refine their questions. Those previous missions, he said, also allowed them to realize that there is so much to discover.

Source: Alabama Media Group