Do You Still Think Jupiter Orbits The Sun?

Do You Still Think Jupiter Orbits The Sun?

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Hey! Here is a no-brainer question to you. Does Jupiter orbit the Sun?

We can hear what you are going to say but you are dead wrong. Forget what you had learnt in school.

Jupiter is huge, it’s so huge that it doesn’t orbit the Sun. Not exactly. With 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets combined, it’s big enough that it moves the center of gravity between Jupiter and the Sun to a point in space just above the Sun’s surface.

Technically Jupiter doesn’t orbit the Sun!


Here’s how that works

When a small object orbits a big object in space, the less massive one doesn’t really travel in a perfect circle around the larger one. Rather, both objects orbit a combined center of gravity.

Earth orbiting the much larger Sun — the center of gravity resides so close to the center of the larger object that the impact of this phenomenon is negligible. The bigger object doesn’t seem to move, and the smaller one draws a circle around it.

But this is not the case with the giant Jupiter.

jupiter

The gas giant is so big that its center of mass with the Sun actually lies 1.07 solar radii from the middle of the sun — or 7% of a sun-radius above the sun’s surface. Both the Sun and Jupiter orbit around that point in space. This is a big difference.

This gif from NASA illustrates this effect:


What do you think?

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