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Cloud composition and colors

The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. A prominent result is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century when it was first seen by telescope.

Jupiter is perpetually covered with clouds composed of ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. The clouds are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of different latitudes.

Jupiter cloud colors orange brown
The first color movie of Jupiter from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The orange and brown coloration in the clouds of Jupiter are caused by upwelling compounds that change color when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun.

Jupiter with the Great Red Spot in the clouds swirling in Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere. Credits NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley).