This is a schematic of the interior of Jupiter.
NASA

The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Jupiter, right under the atmosphere, is the liquid hydrogen layer. The hydrogen atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker, like a dense fog, with more and more liquid droplets, until the hydrogen completely changes from the gas form to the liquid form. This changes occurs at roughly 1000 km (650 miles) below the level of the first cloud deck.

Once the hydrogen is a liquid, it then behaves like the ocean does in forming currents for the purpose of carrying heat from the inside to the outside of Jupiter.

Under the liquid hydrogen layer is a layer made of liquid metallic hydrogen. This layer also forms complicated currents and motions, but because the layer is metallic, it is also able to conduct electricity. This is what produces Jupiter's big magnetosphere.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

A Look at Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Jupiter's magnetosphere is very special. It is the biggest thing in the entire solar system. Not only is it big enough to hold all of Jupiter's moons, but the sun itself could fit inside. It goes all...more

The Structure of Jupiter's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets, only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. The gases which Jupiter is mostly made of change to liquid inside Jupiter, but the change...more

The Structure of Jupiter's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets, only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. The gases which Jupiter is mostly made of change to liquid inside Jupiter, but the change...more

The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Jupiter, right under the atmosphere, is the liquid hydrogen layer. The hydrogen atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker, like a dense fog, with more and more liquid droplets,...more

Impact on Jupiter - July 2009

Anthony Wesley is an amateur astronomer in Australia. On the night of July 19, 2009, Wesley noticed a dark spot on Jupiter that hadn't been there before. He had discovered the remains of a huge impact...more

An Overview of the Evolution of Jupiter's Atmosphere

The giant planets have definitely changed since their formation. But how much remains to be seen. Most of the original air of the giant planets remains in place. (The earth-like planets lost most of their...more

Jupiter's Mesosphere

The mesosphere of Jupiter is a region of balance between warming and cooling. That essentially means that nothing happens there. Except for diffusion, the atmosphere is still. Upper reaches of the atmosphere,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA