Earth is the only planet in the solar system where nuclear fusion occurs. Even Jupiter, the largest of the planets, is nearly 10 times too small to provide the pressure necessary to maintain fusion. However, when clouds pass across its atmosphere, helium atoms are trapped by precipitation lines at high levels in the atmosphere. Down here on Earth, gravity keeps these atoms close together but not up in the atmosphere of Jupiter. When enough helium accumulates, it becomes heavy enough for gravity to pull it down to the surface where it forms stars.
Jupiter has 16 such regions now though some may become active again later in its history. The most famous example is the story of how our own planet began as a giant gas sphere that became enshrouded in darkness first as a result of cloud formation then later by falling meteors.
But perhaps its most interesting fact about Jupiter is not what happened in its past but rather what is happening in its present! Over time, Jupiter's interior heats up due to radioactive decay and this causes its outer layers to expand. The planet's magnetic field tries to hold back its atmosphere but fails because the wind blows away any protection given by the field. As soon as the wind reaches 100 miles per hour, dust is blown into space. This is what causes the great red spot to shrink each year!
You may be aware that nuclear fusion is the mechanism through which the sun and other stars produce light and heat. On Earth, it is most readily accomplished by mixing two hydrogen isotopes: deuterium and tritium. This indicates that as long as there is water on the globe, there will be fuel for fusion. Nuclear fusion occurs when two nuclei are brought close together (about 10-15 millionths of a mile) with enough energy to overcome their electrical repulsion. If this can be done repeatedly, then a star can be formed.
Fusion has three main forms in our universe: stellar, planetary, and terrestrial. Stellar fusion occurs inside a star when gravity brings together large masses of matter that are orbiting a common center of mass. The result is that some of the matter is converted into energy in the form of radiation and released into space. This process keeps a star like our sun alive because it supplies its energy needs over time. A star such as our sun will use up its hydrogen fuel supply about 5 billion years from now, at which point it will start converting its helium into energy instead.
Solar panels use the same principle of attraction and repulsion to generate electricity from the wind or the sun. In this case, sunlight is used to heat metal plates until it becomes hot enough to cause electrons to escape into outer space from atoms in those plates. These freed electrons are captured by electrodes placed under the panel material, causing it to conduct electricity.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, but is it huge enough to ignite? Stars burn due to thermonuclear processes deep into their cores. This amounts to nearly 13 times Jupiter's mass, implying that Jupiter is incapable of ever "igniting." However, its intense gravity could cause other phenomena such as tidal locking or explosive volcanism.
The answer is no, Jupiter is not large enough to go through a phase where it burns hydrogen inside its core. It might be able to pull off helium burning for a little while, but even then it would only be glowing at about 10% of the surface brightness of the sun. The reason is simple: A star needs about 1.4 solar masses to fuse hydrogen into helium, and since Jupiter is over 13 times more massive this process is impossible for it too slow to burn anything else than hydrogen down there. Helium is a much harder substance to burn so even if Jupiter did manage to burn some hydrogen down there it would soon run out of that.
Stars are also born from clouds of gas and dust. If you look up at night you can see stars because light travels faster than speed of sound, so if there were no stars life on earth would be impossible. As a result, stars are important for life as we know it. A star collapses under its own weight before it dies, forming a neutron star or black hole.