Jupiter

How Long Is A Year On Jupiter?

Given its distance from Earth and from our Sun, it takes Jupiter close to twelve Earth years to complete one orbital rotation around the Sun.
How Long Is A Year On Jupiter?

Our Solar System is a complex and fascinating make up of planets.  When comparing each planet, there are some significant differences in terms of atmospheres, density, mass, and sizes to what we experience here on Earth.  These differences also extend to the orbital path of each planet as it rotates around the sun.  In general, planets closer to the Sun have a quicker or shorter orbital path, thus resulting in shorter year span, while those furthest from the Sun take much longer to complete an orbital rotation resulting in a longer year.

Jupiter’s south pole as seen by Juno at altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

When taking a look at Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System and its proximity to the Sun, this planet has some interesting details in terms of its make-up, rotation and seasonal changes compared to Earth.  One of the most stark contrasts is that Jupiter has a much longer orbital path than Earth.  The make-up of our Solar System has Jupiter classified as part of the ‘Outer Solar System’, which is divided by the asteroid belt separating the inner and outer planets.  Given its distance from Earth and from our Sun, it takes Jupiter close to twelve Earth years to complete one orbital rotation around the Sun.  Why is this significant?  This orbital path and distance from the Sun has resulted in the gaseous make up of this planet.  Jupiter’s atmosphere is made up of helium and hydrogen with a very cold planet core.  Jupiter is most famous for its giant Red Spot, which is a powerful storm that has been raging for hundreds of years.  This storm cell is larger than Earth.

Even with its long path to complete a full rotation around our Sun, Jupiter actually has a very short planet rotation that is considered the fastest for all the planets.  Jupiter will rotate on its axis in just under ten hours.

NASA’s enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter shows a Jovian “galaxy” of swirling storms in this image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on February 2, 2017, at 5:13 a.m. PDT (8:13 a.m. EDT), at an altitude of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. Roman Tkachenko/Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Handout via REUTERS
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Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.