Our solar system consists of an average star called the Sun, the planets – including Earth, several moons, comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. Its planetary order is concise that it made it possible for Earth to harbor life. Meaning to say, changes in the structure in our solar system could cause adverse effects in all the planets within, mainly the Earth.
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, plays a crucial role in our solar system. It is responsible for protecting the Earth for deflecting comets and asteroids from hitting our planet. This protective role is possible because of Jupiter’s strong gravitational force, which changes the course of comets and asteroids that might potentially hit Earth. Furthermore, Jupiter is one of the brightest planets that are visible on the night sky here on Earth. Because of this, we may say that Jupiter is essential in our solar system, mainly our planet, to maintain balance.
However, a question could arise out of curiosity. Is it possible for Jupiter to turn into a star? If it did, how would it affect the solar system?
What will happen if Jupiter became a star?
For starters, Jupiter does not meet the qualifications for it to become a star. A fusion reaction is required to form a star, which is absent in Jupiter’s core. Furthermore, even all the planets combined won’t be enough for it to create a star.
Experts speculate that it would take eighty Jupiters crushed together to initiate fusion reaction and form a star. A star not as big as our Sun, but is big enough to classify as a red dwarf. Its diameter would be twenty percent bigger than its original size. Because of this, it would be denser, which will make it not as bright as our Sun – with only 0.3% of the Sun’s luminosity. However, it is still visible in our planet and might appear more radiant than the moon with a bit of reddish color.
Unlike the Sun, Jupiter won’t provide as much heat on Earth because of its distance from our planet. Because of this, we can say that if Jupiter became a star, it wouldn’t create harmful effects on our planet as well as other bodies surrounding it. However, this is not entirely true.
As mentioned earlier, Jupiter is responsible for protecting the Earth from asteroids and comets. If Jupiter became a star, its job in shifting the course of asteroids and comets would be over. Without the help of Jupiter, an asteroid or any space rock could eventually hit our planet.
Interesting Facts About Jupiter
Besides Jupiter being the largest of all planets in our solar system, it also holds several other features that may catch our interests.
Jupiter has a diameter of 142,984 kilometers in its equator, compared to Earth, which only has a diameter of 12,742 kilometers. Meaning to say, the diameter of Jupiter is more than ten times larger than Earth’s. Interestingly, one year in Jupiter does not only consist of 365 days. Instead, it takes 4,333 days to complete one whole year in Jupiter, which is far longer than here on Earth. However, days would be shorter if you are on Jupiter because a day on it consists of 9 hours and 55 minutes instead of twenty-four hours. Jupiter is so big that even if all the planets in our solar system combined, Jupiter would still be two times larger.
Furthermore, Jupiter does not have any solid ground, unlike Earth. Its structure consists of helium and hydrogen gases – thus giving it the name, the Gas Giant. Jupiter has a surface temperature of -108 degrees Celsius, which is beyond the average temperature here on Earth. Earth’s surface temperature depends on the location; it could be -88 degrees Celsius in the poles, while some records show more than 60 degrees Celsius, like in the Lut Desert of Iran.
Jupiter is also known for its Great Red Spot. This spot is a large area on Jupiter, which is visible here on Earth using a telescope. This vast area on Jupiter is a spinning storm, similar to a hurricane here on Earth, which astronomers have observed since 1830. Before that, the storm was already raging and kept on getting stronger. Experts speculate that the Great Red Spot has been raging for 350 years until today.
Moreover, Jupiter has seventy-nine moons orbiting around the planet, often called the Jovian satellite. Its largest moon is Ganymeade, measuring 5,268 kilometers across, which is relatively larger than Mercury.
- Jupiter (Wikipedia)