An animation posted to Twitter has shocked social media users by showing the impressive size of Jupiter and just how rapidly the solar system’s largest planet rotates.
The animation posted by planetary astronomer and science communicator, James O’Donoghue on Tuesday, shows all of the planets of the solar system dominated by the gas giant which is then dwarfed by our star, the Sun.
The animation has been viewed over 4.6 million times and retweeted over 16,500 times at the time of writing with 61,600 likes and almost 700 comments. The tweet with the animation can be seen here.
NASA says that Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is so great in mass that it is twice as massive as all the other planets combined. The planet has a radius of 43,441 miles, meaning that it is 11 times the size of Earth.
In fact, if Jupiter was a container you could fit 1,300 Earths inside it before it was filled. NASA adds: “If Earth were the size of a nickel, Jupiter would be about as big as a basketball.”
Despite its tremendous size and mass, the gas giant still isn’t large enough to become a star. NASA says that the gas giant would need to be at least 80 times more massive to initiate the fusion processes that define a star.
As the animation shows, Jupiter is also remarkable for the speed at which it rotates, faster than any other planet in the solar system. The gas giant completes a full rotation in under 10 hours meaning its days are under half the length of ours on Earth.
O’Donoghue said in a reply to his initial tweet: “A day on Jupiter is 9hr 56min, it’s the biggest and also [the] fastest planet. In the early solar system it grew from loads of Sun-orbiting material, converting the orbital momentum into spin angular momentum.
“Bigger planets are likely to be fast for this reason.”
Twitter users replied to the animation commenting on both the tremendous size of Jupiter and its rapid rotation rate.
Retweeting the animation, author and associate professor in global politics Brian Klaas wrote: “This is very well done. As Douglas Adams once said, we live on an ‘utterly insignificant little blue-green planet.'”
One Twitter user with the handle Cristal White wrote: “i’ve watched this clip multiple times already, it’s so fascinating. and when Jupiter (!!!) and Saturn begin to appear in the frame??!”
Another user V remarked on the gas giant’s rapid rotation, tweeting: “Omg, where does Jupiter have to be? Calm down girlll!”
Many users commented on the perspective the animation provided with regards to the place of our planet in the cosmos. Considering this size comparison and the vastness of space, Lorne Cates said: “Combine this with a video that visually represents how far the planets are from each other, to scale, and you feel really really REALLY small.”
Twitter user a Kilted Scott added: “This video gives me the same sensation as I would get looking over the balcony of a tall building as my brain tries to grasp how big all of this is.”
Co-creator of Dogecoin, Billy Markus, known as “Shibetoshi Nakamoto” on Twitter, wrote: “damn earth is tiny and pointless. cuz it’s round”