Think we’ve got big planets? Think again. On July 4, NASA’s Juno mission will enter Jupiter’s orbit, to study the king of our solar system. But Jupiter is puny compared to some of the exotic exo-Jupiters found in our galaxy, likely to number in the billions.
More than 1,400 light-years away floats Kepler-7b, a gas giant 50 percent larger than Jupiter (1.5 times Jupiter's radius), but half Jupiter’s mass. That means Kepler-7b has roughly the same density as Styrofoam. If you found a bathtub big enough, Kepler-7b could float. This monster is also twelve times hotter than Jupiter, placing it among the exoplanets known as “hot Jupiters.” It orbits its star in a scorching five days. NASA’s Juno’s mission to unlock the secrets of Jupiter will also teach us more about hot Jupiters and the giants in our galaxy.