“The heavens declare the glory of God…”
I just took my beloved Sheltie out for his evening walk. As we stood outside I looked up into the cloudless sky and saw the planet Jupiter. It shone brightly and without twinkling the way stars do. I recall the first time I looked at that largest planet in our solar system through binoculars and witnessed some of its moons. Little did I know the significance of that gas giant planet back then. I have learned a lot in the years since.
You see, if Jupiter did not exist neither would we! For our planet to escape lethal bombardment by large objects in space we need the gravitational effect of a Jupiter to spin them away from us. Jupiter needs to be 5U away from the sun (Earth is 1U away) to be in the correct position to allow life on earth. So Jupiter is properly spaced to help maintain life on Earth.
As astronomers explore other solar systems and look for possible planets that might sustain life they are finding giant planets such as Jupiter but they are all too close to their suns to allow for a planet such as ours to sustain life. In the exploration of other solar systems to date, only our solar system has a “good” Jupiter. Our solar system is looking more and more unusual the more we explore space.