The Bible and science: Jupiter – The grand planet
by Raymond Strom
Jupiter, the most massive planet in our solar system, is a fascinating object. It is so large, and with its prominent moons, becomes an object easily seen with even the least expensive telescopes or binoculars. It is called a gas giant, because a significant part of its mass is made up of gaseous compounds. Its swirling atmosphere is amazing, and its Great Red Spot is the largest, and oldest storm in the solar system.
Jupiter, in itself, is a most interesting planet to observe, but even more interesting, in many respects, are the moons of Jupiter. It was only when Voyager spacecraft observed it closely that it was discovered that it was volcanically active. In fact, it is the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Europa is a bizarre moon, surfaced in ice, but thought to have an ocean of water under that ice.
What is of great interest, though, to many is Ganymede, which surprisingly has a strong magnetic field. It should not. Moons in the solar system are thought to be of too small a mass to have any residual magnetic field left since the time of their formation. There should be no liquid electrically conductive core remaining in these smaller bodies, given their supposed age. But Ganymede has a very strong magnetic field. Some astronomers have suggested that the moon’s field was acquired from Jupiter’s magnetic field, but that would make no sense, since Ganymede’s field is stronger than its parent planet’s field.
But there is another explanation. Dr. Russ Humphries, creationist, contends that it would not be unknown for moons to have magnetic fields if they are only about 6,000 years old. So, like his prediction about the magnetic field for Mercury (Ganymede is actually larger than Mercury) Ganymede should have a magnetic field if it is young.
Ganymede exhibits evidence that is more consistent with a young solar system than evolutionary long ages and we are once more reminded that “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth”, not that long ago.