King of planets

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 December, 2008, 12:00am

On Monday night two planets put on a great show. Jupiter and Venus joined with the moon to make a smiley face in the sky. It was best to use binoculars to see the show. When planets are grouped together it is called a conjunction (kon-junk-shun)

Roman God Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest of all the planets. It is named after the Roman god Jupiter who was the king of the gods. He was also the god of the sky and thunder.

Jupiter is a gas giant

That means most of it is like a cloud. It has a very faint ring.

Eye of the storm

What people notice most about Jupiter is its 'eye'. This is called the Great Red Spot. This is a huge storm that has been raging for at least 300 years. The storm is so big we could fit the whole of Earth inside it.

Many moons

Jupiter has four big moons. It has many others. At least 39 have been discovered so far.

Days and years

One day on Jupiter is only 9.8 hours long. But a year is 11.6 Earth years long.