Jupiter’s Atmosphere

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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Captured by the Cassini spacecraft, this global view of the gas giant reveals a thick and active atmosphere. The planet is composed almost entirely of gas, hydrogen and helium mostly. No solid surface exists beneath the clouds, rather Jupiter has a liquid interior.

The atmosphere is active due to the hundreds of massive storms, referred to as vortices or cyclones, that churn up Jupiter’s thick cloud bands. While hurricanes and cyclones on Earth eventually stall or break up within days or a week, some cyclones on Jupiter can last centuries.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

This image from the Juno spacecraft provides a close-up of the planet’s Great Red Spot. This vortex is 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) wide and is believed to have existed for at least three hundred years.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

This false-color image was created using infrared data collected by Juno. It shows densely packed cyclones at Jupiter’s south pole. Five cyclones, with diameters ranging from 3,500 to 4,300 miles (5,600 to 7,000 kilometers), surround a lone central cyclone.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

Taken by Juno’s JunoCam, this color-enhanced image provides a ‘blue’ view of a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere.

These incredible images of Jupiter’s atmosphere inspired me to create pieces for the Beautiful Planets and MoonsCelestial Scapes, and Celestial Ties collections.