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.

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.

The movement of Jupiter's counter-rotating cloud bands. (This looping animation maps the planet's exterior onto a cylindrical projection.)

The movement of Jupiter's counter-rotating cloud bands. (This looping animation maps the planet's exterior onto a cylindrical projection.)

Voyager: Crystal-clear images of Jupiter’s atmosphere

Voyager: a space odyssey – in pictures

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

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.

In Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt, scientists spotted a rare wave that had been seen there only once before. It is similar to a wave that sometimes occurs in Earth’s atmosphere when cyclones are forming. This false-color close-up of Jupiter shows cyclones (arrows) and the wave (vertical lines). Credits: NASA/ESA/Goddard/UCBerkeley/JPL-Caltech/STScI http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/goddard/hubble-s-planetary-portrait-captures-new-changes-in-jupiter-s-great-red-spot

In Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt, scientists spotted a rare wave that had been seen there only once before. It is similar to a wave that sometimes occurs in Earth’s atmosphere when cyclones are forming. This false-color close-up of Jupiter shows cyclones (arrows) and the wave (vertical lines). Credits: NASA/ESA/Goddard/UCBerkeley/JPL-Caltech/STScI http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/goddard/hubble-s-planetary-portrait-captures-new-changes-in-jupiter-s-great-red-spot

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