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What is Jupiter’s Atmosphere Made Of?



Jupiter is an intriguing planet, and not just because of how massive it is. The first of the outer planets and a gas giant that dwarfs our tiny planet, Jupiter and its Great Red Spot has been a subject of study since Galileo first turned his telescope to it. Learning about this alien world has only made us more in awe of it. Let’s take a look at what the largest atmosphere in our solar system is made of:



1. There are a few “layers” of the atmosphere.
Jupiter’s atmosphere separates into layers that each have their own composition. The top cloud layer is ammonia ice, the middle is ammonium hydrosulfide crystals, and the third is likely water vapor and ice.



2. Most of Jupiter is atmosphere; there’s no actual surface.
While those three layers define specific boundaries within the atmosphere of Jupiter, the vast majority is composed of hydrogen and helium. In fact, the total amount of hydrogen and helium in the atmosphere account for most of Jupiter’s mass; the planet itself is primarily atmosphere with no surface but possibly a liquid hydrogen ocean.

3. The Great Red Spot.
The Great Red Spot is the most well-known portion of Juptier’s atmosphere. It’s a giant storm that has been ongoing for hundreds of years (it was first formally observed in 1830). Since Jupiter doesn’t have a surface to interfere, storms like this can continue to rage on seemingly forever.
 
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Unlike Earth, Jupiter's atmosphere does not have a mesosphere. Jupiter has no solid surface, and the lowest level of the atmosphere - the troposphere - smoothly passes into the hydrogen ocean. There are no clear boundaries between liquid and gas because the temperature and pressure at this level are much higher than the critical points for hydrogen and helium.
 
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I'm guessing that a well-equipped person falling through the atmosphere might go about 1/2 way before the fall gently comes to a halt due to buoyancy from the greater surrounding density.
 
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Catastrophe

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Yes, it is a sobering thought that when the Sun expands in about 5 billion years, Jupiter might end up smaller than some of its satellites - it being made mostly of hydrogen and some satellites having metal/silicate base.
 
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Unlike Earth, Jupiter's atmosphere does not have a mesosphere. Jupiter has no solid surface, and the lowest level of the atmosphere - the troposphere - smoothly passes into the hydrogen ocean. There are no clear boundaries between liquid and gas because the temperature and pressure at this level are much higher than the critical points for hydrogen and helium.
While Jupiter may not have a "surface," there very well may be surfaces of solid ammonium hydrogen sulfide roughly 175 miles below cloud tops. The solids may be tiny flakes, snowballs, floating islands, or even continent-sized blocks floating buoyantly in the dense supercritical hydrogen atmosphere.

There actually is evidence for solids in the Jovian atmosphere. Von Karmann interference patterns displayed in the cloud tops are characteristic of fluid flow over irregular solid objects. There may be other explanations or mechanisms for these interference patterns. But until NASA puts another probe into the Jovian atmosphere to find out, solid ammonium hydrogen sulfide floating around at depth in that super-critical hydrogen ocean may contribute to the patterns observed in the cloud tops.

Interestingly, temperatures, pressures, and chemical regimes reported by the Galileo probe late in its descent are similar to the temperature, pressure, and chemical regime found in deep subsea sedimentary deposits on Earth. These subsea sediments are ubiquitously home to Archaea microbes which thrive and reproduce in the anoxic and nearly anhydrous conditions, consuming ammonia. According to published estimates, these very primitive ammonia-eating microbes are the largest occupants of Earth both by number and volume. Given that similar conditions are found at depth in the Jovian atmosphere, it is possible that similar microbes may exist on Jupiter.

Using a little imagination, Archaea-like microbes and their evolutionary descendants may occupy floating solid masses in the Jovian atmosphere happily consuming ammonia. Perhaps the Archaea on Earth were splashed from Jupiter due to an impact. By the way, all higher life on Earth probably evolved from Archaea.
 
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Using a little imagination, Archaea-like microbes and their evolutionary descendants may occupy floating solid masses in the Jovian atmosphere happily consuming ammonia. Perhaps the Archaea on Earth were splashed from Jupiter due to an impact. By the way, all higher life on Earth probably evolved from Archaea.
Of course! There are high possibilities to find life everywhere in the Universe. There is the possibility to find life on Venus, on Mars, on some random Jupiter moons, and even on Jupiter itself! In addition to that Archaea are our "ancestors" and with this everything ok, but I really don't think that life as we know it today come from Jupiter, i.e. there are so, so small possibilities, something like one possibility on a trillions, or even less...
the critical points
Sorry, I just want to clarify thiings a bit, is the critical point the moment in which matter can be solid and liquid at the same time? I mean, is these the point in which this two states of matter coexist?
 
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Vincenzo
"Sorry, I just want to clarify thiings a bit, is the critical point the moment in which matter can be solid and liquid at the same time? I mean, is these the point in which this two states of matter coexist? "
Yes. There can also be a triple point where gas , liquid and solid can co-exist.

Cat :)
 
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The "critical point" is the point of temperature and pressure at which there is no longer a phase change between two or three phases of a substance. For example, water exists in three "phases": as water ice (solid phase), liquid water (liquid phase), and water vapor (gaseous phase). The particular phase depends on the ambient temperature and the pressure. Graphs of the temperature and pressure conditions determining which phase is prevalent are called "phase diagrams." When a line of temperature-pressure conditions defining a phase change between gas and liquid comes to an end, that is called a critical point. At higher temperatures or pressures or both above the critical point, there is no distinction between the gas and liquid phases. Since there is no longer a difference between gas and liquid, there is no phase difference.

In the case of hydrogen on Jupiter, the temperature and pressure conditions are above that point where there is no difference between hydrogen gas and hydrogen liquid. The hydrogen is compressible like gas but is much thicker or denser, much like a liquid. Thus, the hydrogen "ocean" on Jupiter is "super-critical," or in ambient conditions of temperature and pressure which mean, there is no distinction between hydrogen gas and liquid hydrogen.
 
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Vincenzo
"Sorry, I just want to clarify thiings a bit, is the critical point the moment in which matter can be solid and liquid at the same time? I mean, is these the point in which this two states of matter coexist? "
Yes. There can also be a triple point where gas , liquid and solid can co-exist.

Cat :)
What? Does even triple point exist? Incredible, I really can't believe this is possible. Maybe the reason why I love astronomy and physics is this, everything is possible and I want to be surprised by it. Greatest thanks.
The "critical point" is the point of temperature and pressure at which there is no longer a phase change between two or three phases of a substance. For example, water exists in three "phases": as water ice (solid phase), liquid water (liquid phase), and water vapor (gaseous phase). The particular phase depends on the ambient temperature and the pressure. Graphs of the temperature and pressure conditions determining which phase is prevalent are called "phase diagrams." When a line of temperature-pressure conditions defining a phase change between gas and liquid comes to an end, that is called a critical point. At higher temperatures or pressures or both above the critical point, there is no distinction between the gas and liquid phases. Since there is no longer a difference between gas and liquid, there is no phase difference.
Now I remember that I studied something alike at schools. I studied that both temperature and pressure can change the states of elements, and this is the cases in which them, joint, can make this strange effects (if I can call it in this way). Too bad I have never studied at schools the critical point... Many thanks to you too!
 
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What? Does even triple point exist? Incredible, I really can't believe this is possible. Maybe the reason why I love astronomy and physics is this, everything is possible and I want to be surprised by it. Greatest thanks.

Now I remember that I studied something alike at schools. I studied that both temperature and pressure can change the states of elements, and this is the cases in which them, joint, can make this strange effects (if I can call it in this way). Too bad I have never studied at schools the critical point... Many thanks to you too!
"What? Does even triple point exist? Incredible, I really can't believe this is possible."

A simple search TRIPLE POINT WIKI would quell your doubts.
Here is the opening startement:

QUOTE
In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] It is that temperature and pressure at which the sublimation curve, fusion curve and the vaporisation curve meet. For example, the triple point of mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.83440 °C (−37.90192 °F) and a pressure of 0.165 mPa.
QUOTE

Cat :)
 
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I doubt there are any thermodynamics courses that doesn't teach this because so much power generation uses steam production. Look at any psychometric chart.
I have never followed any thermodynamic course... I have this passion for astronomy, and my physical knowledges aren't bad at all, but in terms of thermodynamic I'm not so much aware of this theme.
In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] It is that temperature and pressure at which the sublimation curve, fusion curve and the vaporisation curve meet. For example, the triple point of mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.83440 °C (−37.90192 °F) and a pressure of 0.165 mPa.
QUOTE
The way I see it is that is incredible how everything is represented with the help of curves and analitical solutions. Now I must google it (as you suggested me), I'm very interested in it. Great thanks!
 

Catastrophe

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VS:
Quote
The way I see it is that is incredible how everything is represented with the help of curves and analitical solutions.
Quote

Graphs are two-dimensional but a third dimension can be introduced to give access to another dimension. The trick (in the nicest most positive meaning) is to choose variables which are meaningful. Of course, if one chooses meaningless variables you get meaningless scatter of points. A good relationship of points on your graph helps you to understand that there is meaning, and this is part of science.

Cat :)
 
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VS:
Quote
The way I see it is that is incredible how everything is represented with the help of curves and analitical solutions.
Quote

Graphs are two-dimensional but a third dimension can be introduced to give access to another dimension. The trick (in the nicest most positive meaning) is to choose variables which are meaningful. Of course, if one chooses meaningless variables you get meaningless scatter of points. A good relationship of points on your graph helps you to understand that there is meaning, and this is part of science.

Cat :)
Excuse me, what does it mean?
I don't think we said two different things. Graphs can be two-dimensional as well as three-dimesional. If you want to describe something you can do it as you want, how many varables are there? three? Well your graph can be three-dimensional!
I'm not such an expert but I guess there are curves who can be represented in space instead of in a plan.
I don't think this is useful. Correct me if I'm mistaking.
 

Catastrophe

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Excuse me, what does it mean?
I don't think we said two different things. Graphs can be two-dimensional as well as three-dimesional. If you want to describe something you can do it as you want, how many varables are there? three? Well your graph can be three-dimensional!
I'm not such an expert but I guess there are curves who can be represented in space instead of in a plan.

I don't think this is useful. Correct me if I'm mistaking.
Hi VS
Are you referring to post #13? Sometimes I start a post with a 'marker' - in this case VS. Maybe then I go fetch a quote. If this is what happened, I am sorry if you caught a post in the course of preparation. If you click on the second "Catastrophe said" in your post #14 it takes you to the completed (my) post #13.

Regarding the top part of thus post - yes, you are absolutely correct. It is possible to have graphs with three dimensions, x, y, z axes. I have never seen the following (not being a mathematician) but I suppose one could represent a 4th dimension as contours on a 3D graph? Any mathematicians present? Of course this does not mean a 4th space dimension - it could be temperature or pressure you are plotting, for example.

I am sorry if I confused you by stating the obvious. I pointed out that you can graph meaningless things and get a scatter of pointes which give you no line on a graph. For example if you plot human height against hair colour, I don't think you get any connection. Just random points.

Cat :)
 
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I really can't believe that it was my name!o_O
I'm not used to be named in this way, well as a matter of fact no one call me entirely with my name, once one called me "vincen":tearsofjoy:. Excuse me for this embarrasing misunderstanding...
I have never seen the following (not being a mathematician) but I suppose one could represent a 4th dimension as contours on a 3D graph? Any mathematicians present?
I'm not certain whether I'll get graduated in something about astronomy or mathematics, cause I love both. Anyways, if this can be helpful, I represented certain points in four dimensions (or better, our math teacher showed us how to do it). I asked her for some explanations and she said me there are infinite dimensions, there is only the problem we "can't see them". In other words, we can analize them even if we can't fell their presence.
 
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Dear Vincen.
I do apologise for addressing you by your initials. No rudeness was intended.
It seems normal here to be addressed by abbreviated forms. For example, I am normally addressed as Cat rather than Catastrophe, although I notice you use my unabbreviated full name.
Anyway, I am very, very sorry and, if I may, I will address you as Vincen in future. Is that OK?

(Catastrophe aka) please call me:-
Cat :)
 
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Dear Vincen.
I do apologise for addressing you by your initials. No rudeness was intended.
It seems normal here to be addressed by abbreviated forms. For example, I am normally addressed as Cat rather than Catastrophe, although I notice you use my unabbreviated full name.
Anyway, I am very, very sorry and, if I may, I will address you as Vincen in future. Is that OK?

(Catastrophe aka) please call me:-
Cat
I notice you changed image Cat!
Anywyas I meant I didn't pay attention enough at the beginning and I know you only wanted to short my name, it's okay! I thought "VS" was "versus" to compare the two statements but then I understood!
I will address you as Vincen in future.
Perfect! You can call me as you want but this is beautiful!
 
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You are absolutely correct. In mathematics you can work in any number of dimensions, but we were talking about graphical representation.

Cat
I knew this wasn't useful now,but...
What if our graph was delineated by x,y,z which represent the lenght, the depth and the height? Now we have a graph very close to the structure of the Universe, right? We have the three space dimensions of the Universe itself. Now the previous speech can help us, by adding dimensions, indeed, we have the possibility to completely change this pattern. I know this sounds like I want to introduce new dimension, but this is correct, this speech is correct. If math is the application of physics and physics is the rule of the Universe, this is correct and even possible. Here I begin to have strong doubt and headcakes.
 
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Vincen,
" indeed, we have the possibility to completely change this pattern."

You are correct. Of course x, y, z do not have to be space dimensions.

You could graph pressure (x) of gas against its volume (y). You could then have temperature as the z dimension.

Cat :)
 
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Vincen,
" indeed, we have the possibility to completely change this pattern."

You are correct. Of course x, y, z do not have to be space dimensions.

You could graph pressure (x) of gas against its volume (y). You could then have temperature as the z dimension.

Cat :)
To tell the truth, I had something else in mind, but then I realised this was too strange end irrazional, for this reason is better if we talk about "tradizional graphs". Thanks to two variables we can have the third parameter, and that's ok!
 

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