Jupiter is a large gas planet whose rapid rotation causes the planet to flatten at the poles and bulge at the equator. Jupiter emits twice as much heat as it absorbs from the Sun, which indicates it has its own internal heat source. Astronomers estimate the core temperature at 20,000 degrees Celsius, approximately three times greater than the temperature of the Earth's core. The planet's powerful magnetic field is thought to be generated by the electric currents produced by pressurized hydrogen in the mantle. Jupiter's atmosphere is thought to be composed of hydrogen, helium, sulfur, and nitrogen. Clouds in the atmosphere move in alternating bands from east to west or west to east. Lightning, more powerful than any that has been experienced on Earth, has been noted in Jupiter's atmosphere. Also in Jupiter's atmosphere are oval features which are thought to be circular winds. The most prominent of these is the Great Red Spot, a hurricane-like storm that has been seen in Jupiter's southern hemisphere since Jupiter was first discovered. Jupiter has at least sixteen natural satellites (and may have over 28!) . One of these satellites, Io, is volcanically active. Instruments aboard the space probe Galileo have detected surface temperatures on Io higher than any other planetary body in our Solar System. Voyager 2, also a space probe, has confirmed that Jupiter is surrounded by a system of thin rings. The majority of the rings are made up of very small particles thought to be debris from meteoroid collisions.
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