Even though we all learn about the solar system in school, it can be hard to fathom just how small and infinitesimal that Earth actually is compared to other planets. We’re basically living on a tiny speck floating through space! It boggles the mind. And that’s not even counting what’s going on out there beyond our solar system…So, what is the biggest planet?
Within our solar system, Jupiter is the biggest planet by far. But without giving examples, it’s hard to imagine what exactly we mean with “by far.” It’s all relative! Here's one mind-blowing way of envisioning just how big Jupiter is. Imagine you were to put all the planets from our solar system together except Jupiter.Now double that mass in size. It’s still not quite as big as Jupiter!
Here’s another example using real-world objects. If Earth is the size of a grape, Jupiter is the size of a basketball. There’s actually a red spot on Jupiter that’s visible in many photos of the planet—that spot is actually about the size of Earth, to put things into perspective.
While the sun is much, much, bigger than Jupiter—and everything else in the solar system combined—it’s not technically a planet. It’s a star. What makes something a star? Well, at the core of the star, a reaction causes it to produce light. As for planets, they are defined by the fact that they orbit around something. Those are the fundamental differences that differentiate a star like the sun and a large planet like Jupiter.
While Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, we’re not the only set of planets orbiting around a star. Planets that exist outside of the solar system are called exoplanets, and there are actually many exoplanets that are way, way, larger than Jupiter. We really only knew that exoplanets existed for sure in 1992, and since then, astronomers have catalogued 4,187 exoplanets. That said, we’ve only explored a fraction of the universe, so it’s possible that even bigger exoplanets exist in outer space.
There’s a whole whack of exoplanets out there referring to themselves at Hot Jupiters. No, they’re not Jupiters who got glow-ups. They’re gas giant exoplanets whose compositions are very similar to Jupiter. That's why they're able to be so big. If you look at a list of exoplanets by size, many of them are called Hot Jupiters—but also, many of them are stars. The largest exoplanet that is strictly a planet and not a star is called HAT-P-67 b. It’s a little over twice as big as Jupiter, although it doesn’t have as much mass.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to email@example.com. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: