Jupiter’s Gigantic and Colorful Clouds

Recently Juno space craft captured colorful images of Jupiter’s Clouds from about 29,100 miles away from the clouds.

Jupiter is known for its colorful clouds. With a mean temperature of 120 degrees Kelvin (-153 degrees Celsius) and a composition dominated by Hydrogen (about 90%), and Helium (about 10%) with a smattering of hydrogen compounds like methane and ammonia, astronomers. The cause of these colors is not yet known and has been hard pressed to explain the blue, orange and brown cloud bands and the salmon colored “red” spot. Contamination by various polymers of sulfur (S3, S4, S5, and S8), which are yellow, red, and brown, has been suggested as a possible cause of the riot of color.

The Juno Spacecraft was launched in August 5, 2011 which reached Jupiter in July 5, 2016 to begin a scientific investigation of the planet. After completing its mission, Juno will be deorbited into Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Few days earlier to this NASA released Jupoter’s south pole images using Juno’s imager, JunoCam. The images show both of Jupiter’s poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together. The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter.

Jupiter's colorful clouds

(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles)

Principal investigator is Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said “Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new. On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system — one that every school kid knows — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”