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60 votes
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Why isn't the asteroid belt affected by Jupiter's gravitational field?

The asteroid belt is affected by Jupiter's gravity. There are stable orbits inside of Jupiter's orbit. Jupiter's Hill Sphere has a radius of 53 million km. If you are more than 53 million km from ...
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48 votes
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Why don't the inner moons of Jupiter have tidally-induced volcanism?

It’s because they are much smaller than Io. Tidal forces are differential forces, that is, they result from the difference in gravitational pull on one side of a body compared to the other. When an ...
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40 votes

Is Jupiter a failed star?

No. Besides the 13 Jupiter-masses required to ignite deuterium burning, and make Jupiter into a Brown Dwarf, there is a clear difference between the formation pathways of Brown Dwarves and Gas ...
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36 votes

Is Jupiter's Red Spot "locked in place" or does it move around?

It does drift relative to other parts of the atmosphere. The lack of a surface makes defining the actual rotation period of Jupiter rather difficult. The currently accepted value of 9h:55m:29.7s is ...
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31 votes
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Why does the solar analemma have a strange shape on Jupiter?

As written on Wikipedia page about this: On Earth, the analemma appears as a figure-eight, but on other Solar System bodies, it may be very different due to the interplay between the three parameters ...
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31 votes
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Why doesn't the Sun wobble towards Jupiter instead of away from Jupiter?

The part of your intuition that is correct is that Jupiter pulls the Sun towards it. The problem is that "pulls towards" does not mean "brings closer"! The gravitational force ...
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  • 477
30 votes

Why can't our Sun be a binary with Jupiter as a T or Y dwarf?

But why can't Jupiter be a Y Dwarf who is in the binary relationship with the Sun? There are two reasons: One is that Jupiter is too small to have ever undergone fusion of any sort. To qualify as a ...
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28 votes
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Why do gas giants have clearly delineated surfaces, whereas the Earth's atmosphere fades into space?

In an isothermal atmosphere, the exponential scale height of the atmosphere is $$ h \sim \frac{k_\mathrm B T}{\mu g},$$ where $g$ is the gravitational field, $\mu$ is the mean mass of a particle and $...
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26 votes
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If Jupiter is a gas-giant then why don't its features change?

Believe it or not, Jupiter isn't too consistent. Take a look at these pictures, the first taken in 2009 and the second taken in 2010: and Quite the difference, eh? Why? Jupiter's atmosphere is made ...
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24 votes
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Is there any orbit at which the Roche limit can be "felt"?

Roche limit happens where the gravity of the object, trying to pull the object together, becomes smaller than the tidal force (trying to pull the object apart). But the astronaut is bound by not ...
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23 votes
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Why is Jupiter's Great Red Spot reddish?

It's red because it's a 'sunburn'. The clouds in the red spot reach to higher altitudes than the surrounding ones and are more exposed to solar UV radiation, which in turn changes the structure of ...
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22 votes
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During solar eclipses on Jupiter, can the moon(s)' shadow(s) on the surface be seen from Earth with a telescope?

Yes, you can see it (I have seen Io's shadow on Jupiter and we were happy it was visitor night so that we could share the view with guests) A 50cm mirror and 125x magnification allows you to see it ...
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20 votes
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Did we discover 10 or 12 new moons of Jupiter?

Per the Carnegie Science article that Magic Octopus Urn linked from NASA in the comments, a Carnegie Science team led by Scott S. Sheppard noticed something new in spring of 2017 (though some ...
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  • 6,084
20 votes

Is Jupiter's Red Spot "locked in place" or does it move around?

Yes, as with all other storms, the Great Red Spot is dynamic, so it constantly changes its size and shape and it shifts and drifts and is not just "locked in a definite position". According ...
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19 votes
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What would happen if Jupiter and Earth were at the same distance as the Moon is from Earth?

That's no good idea. Earth wouldn't necessarily fall into Jupiter in the short run, provided it orbits Jupiter fast enough (within about 1.7 days), and on a circular orbit, but we would risk to ...
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  • 11.2k
19 votes

How big would the asteroid belt planet be?

The mass of the asteroid main belt is estimated at 4% the mass of our moon according to Wikipedia so any object formed from the aggregation of that mass would not be a planet. It would be the size of ...
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19 votes
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How often are there lunar eclipses on Jupiter

Every Galilean moon and inner moon go into lunar eclipse once per orbit. How often is there a lunar eclipse of the Jovian moons? I set up a little animation of the Galilean moons (I didn't include ...
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19 votes
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What is behind the Great Red Spot's longevity?

Standard answers, as found here, (partial quote) Unlike Jupiter, the Earth has land masses that cause major storms to lose energy due to friction with a solid surface. Without this feature, Jupiter’...
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17 votes
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How big would the asteroid belt planet be?

The largest main belt asteroid is 1 Ceres, which alone contains almost a third of the total mass of the whole main asteroid belt. Ceres is large enough to be in hydrostatic equilibrium, i.e. its own ...
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17 votes
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What will happen when landing on Jupiter?

Jupiter does not have a "surface" and nor is there anything but an arbitrary division between interplanetary space and where its atmosphere begins. The crushing pressure is its atmospheric pressure. ...
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17 votes
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Fate of Jupiter when our sun dies

Jupiter won't evolve into a star, it is not big enough. A body would have to have about 80 times the mass of Jupiter for there to be significant fusion occurring in the core. The end of life of the ...
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17 votes
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Is it possible to see Callisto with the naked eye when it's at its greatest elongation from Jupiter?

This has been an area of controversy for quite some time now, with no clear resolution (if you'll pardon the pun). There's been interest in supporting or refuting claims that observers were able to ...
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  • 33.7k
17 votes

Why don't the inner moons of Jupiter have tidally-induced volcanism?

There are four moons that are closer to Jupiter than Io with higher eccentricities, yet they don't seem to have any volcanism at their surface. Only one of those innermost moons (Thebe) has an ...
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  • 27.1k
17 votes

Jupiter with a mobile phone and Celestron Astro FI 102mm Maksutov

Congratulations on your purchase. The first pictures dont' show anything much. Just a out-of-focus blur. The last one shows Jupiter and three of its moons. I've overlaid the image onto a simulated ...
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  • 87.7k
17 votes

Is Jupiter warming the Earth? (Earth, Sun Jupiter system)

If you want to model the entire solar system, it's best to model the Sun, the planets, the asteroids, etc. with respect to the barycenter. That choice reduces the equations of motion to their ...
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16 votes
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Can magnetism escape a black hole?

Nothing "escapes" a BH - in the sense that a signal originating inside the event horizon remains forever inside. If something is observed moving away from the BH, then it was generated outside the ...
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15 votes

If Jupiter is a gas-giant then why don't its features change?

we see that its features didn't change largely over many years Jupiter is huge. It is 11 earths across, and 1300 times our volume. The clouds/bands we can see are vastly larger than Earth's entire ...
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  • 151
15 votes

How often are there lunar eclipses on Jupiter

The orbits of the Galilean satellites have a roughly 2° incline. Based on their distance from Jupiter and on the radius of Jupiter, I computed the apparent diameter of Jupiter from these satellites. ...
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  • 16.7k
15 votes

Is Jupiter a failed star?

Short answer: no It all of course depends on how you define the term failed star. In general, a star should be able to generate heat by fusing atoms together, and it requires about 13 times the mass ...
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