Jupiter's Atmosphere & the Great Red Spot

Space.com | 10/18/2018 | Staff
hi09 (Posted by) Level 3
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The atmosphere of Jupiter essentially makes up the entire planet. The gas giant has no firm surface to touch down on. Instead, it is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, with a few traces of other gases comprising a tiny percentage of its air.

Jupiter's atmosphere is one of the key science targets for NASA's Juno mission, which began orbiting the planet in 2016. The spacecraft is looking to measure the amount of water in the atmosphere, which should tell scientists whether their current ideas about how the solar system formed are correct.

Jupiter - Hydrogen - Gas - Ingredient - Sun

Jupiter is made up predominantly of hydrogen. The simple, basic gas, a prime ingredient on the sun, accounts for 90 percent of the atmosphere. Nearly 10 percent is composed of helium. A very small fraction of the atmosphere is made up of compounds such as ammonia, sulfur, methane, and water vapor.

Traveling from the outermost edges of Jupiter toward its center, pressure and temperature goes up. These increases cause the gases to separate into layers. Deep down, the hydrogen changes from a gas to a liquid. It can even become metallic.

Jupiter - Supply - Hydrogen - Helium - Planet

Jupiter boasts an enormous supply of hydrogen and helium that make it the most massive planet in the solar system.

Transit of Io across Jupiter. South is up in this view. Mosaic composite photograph. Cassini, January 1, 2001.

Credit - Benson/Kinetikon - Pictures - Rights

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Michael Benson/Kinetikon Pictures. © All rights reserved.

Scientists use changes in the temperature and pressure of the atmosphere to determine the various atmospheric layers.

Surface - Planet - Bottom - Atmosphere - Point

The surface of the planet, or the bottom of the atmosphere, is the point where scientists have calculated that the atmospheric pressure is equal to one bar, the same as found at the surface of Earth.

The layer resting on the "surface" of Jupiter is known as the troposphere, and extends to approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) above the surface. The...
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