Wednesdays on Jupiter

Comic by the sublime Roz Chast: Wednesdays on Jupiter.

  • Kinda short: Jupiter rotates very quickly—a day on Jupiter is about 9 hours and 55 minutes (at its equator; the day is slightly longer at the poles). Hours on Earth have no particular astronomical significance, so we might as well keep an Earth hour for talking about Jupiter. Notice that Chast draws a clock with 10 hours on it, so we’ll round up: one full day will bring us from 10 to 10, so an afternoon (defined roughly as 1/4 of a day) is going to be 2 1/2 hours long. Very short indeed!
  • Kinda cold: this depends on where you measure. Jupiter has no surface in the same way Earth does (artistic license applies here): the gaseous atmosphere transitions smoothly into an “ocean” of compressed liquid hydrogen. The interior of Jupiter is very warm, but high in the atmosphere where the pressure is equivalent to air pressure on Earth, the temperature is about -100° C (-148° F), cold enough to make clouds of ammonia as well as water ice.
  • Kinda big: Jupiter is about 11 times the radius of Earth, again depending on where you’re measuring the radius—Jupiter rotates quickly, so it bulges at the equator and is slightly flattened at the poles. Since the surface area scales like radius squared, the “surface” of Jupiter is about 121 times bigger than the surface of Earth.
  • All in all, kinda neat! That one goes without saying.

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