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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is an image of Jupiter.
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Dr. Micheal Belton

An Overview of Jupiter's Atmosphere

The king of planets is aptly named because it not only has the most dymanic atmospheric motion, but also the most riveting cloud patterns and storms, and the most majestic appearance of the giant planets. The dramatic appearance of Jupiter stems partially because the composition of Jupiter's atmosphere includes complex molecules such as ammonia and methane, as well as simple molecules such as helium, hydrogen, and sulfur.

The atmosphere of Jupiter is only a narrow surface layer, compared to the vast interior of the planet. The three clouddecks of Jupiter are to be found at different levels in the troposphere, while hazes of smog can be found higher in the atmosphere.

Jupiter is not much changed from its early evolution out of the primordial solar nebula, and in fact, may still be evolving.


Last modified April 2, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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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