Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but slightly less than one-thousandth the mass of the Sun.
Jupiter orbits about 484 million miles (778 million kilometers) or 5.2 Astronomical Units (AU) from our Sun (Earth is one AU from the Sun). It’s atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He). Jupiter cannot support life as we know it. But some of Jupiter’s moons have oceans beneath their crusts that might support life. We will discuss that in our other articles. Let’s explore how exactly this large round gas is protecting us?
Jupiter, our solar system’s largest planet, is not a random gas giant. One of its most important jobs that Jupiter excels in is to keep the Earth from getting hit by comets or large space rocks that may come to it. If you want to know how Jupiter protects us from the big bang that’s coming our way, then you should first understand what Jupiter does.
Due to it’s massive size, Jupiter is more than capable of riding out solar system storms. When storms, from distant stars, approach the outer edges of our solar system, they can sometimes strip off layers of vaporized rock from the inner layers of the solar system. Jupiter’s gravity helps to slow down these storms and stop them from growing into full-blown hurricanes. Jupiter’s gravitational pull saves us from these storms
Jupiter’s gravity also helps to steer material into our solar system from other sources. So, when we talk about” Jupiter’s pull,” we actually are referring to the fact that Jupiter helps to steady our revolution. It’s gravity creates a balance that has permanently placed us in a comfortable goldy lock zone
Jupiter saves us from the asteroid belt. It picks up the space debris which are capable of destroying our planet. Due to it’s enormous gravity, Jupiter ensures that larger and more volatile compounds (asteroids and comets) will be tidied up before they become too near or on the Earth’s surface.
Scientists believe that one reason Earth is habitable is because the gravity of Jupiter does help protect us from some comets.
Jupiter’s gravity is thought to sling most of these fast-moving ice balls out of the solar system before they can get close to Earth.
So long-period comets are thought to strike Earth only on very long timescales of millions or tens of millions of years. Without Jupiter nearby, long-period comets would collide with our planet much more frequently.
So is Jupiter Earth’s supreme protector? YES! YES! YES!