Over the years, Jupiter has been depicted as many different colors. And like all of the other planets, it’s often been depicted as the completely wrong color to the reality of what it is. There’s definitely been depictions of the planet being red, brown, white, yellow and even blue depending on the circumstance. But what color is Jupiter really? Well, that’s what we’re going to take a quick look into.
What color is the planet Jupiter?
The planet Jupiter is a mix of orange and yellow colors; however, it reflects blue rays, which is why it is often depicted as blue. This is similar to the planet Venus, which astronomers consider to be white, but actually reflects a purple-indigo color, so is often seen as purple instead.
The truth is that Jupiter cannot be defined as just one color. It is one of the most unique planets in our solar system, with its primary colors being a blend of brown, yellow, white, orange and everything in-between. When the Sun’s red and yellow light reflect onto the planet, it results in this blend of colors.
The reason why it’s this wide variation of different colors? Well, there are a few reasons actually, but most of it comes down to the composition of Jupiter itself, and the chemicals that make up its atmosphere. Plus, there are a lot of storms on the surface of the planet Jupiter, which can make the colors change a lot.
There are a lot of different elements in the atmosphere that surrounds Jupiter, and as a planet that’s primarily made up of gas, hydrogen is the most obvious one. Around 90% of the planet’s atmosphere is hydrogen, which is a little less than its sister planet, Saturn.
However as well as the hydrogen, there are a ton of other elements in the atmosphere too. This includes helium, which is the main additional element you can find there. But there’s also water, ice crystals, ammonia crystals, hydrogen sulphide and methane too.
And you may think that like the methane in the atmosphere of Uranus and Neptune turns them blue, we may be able to do the same thing for Jupiter. It’s thought that the white and lighter colors of the planet are a result of the ammonia ice that is in the atmosphere, but astronomers aren’t 100% sure about this – astronomers aren’t sure what causes the darker colors either.
Plus, one more thing that we’re also not sure of is what causes the colors of the storms on Jupiter, which are primarily red. The best known of these is the Great Red Spot. You can check out our other work if you want some more facts about Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Storms on Jupiter
There are many different storms across the surface of Jupiter, as it has some of the worst weather of any planet. There’s a mix of cyclones and anticyclones that make their way across the planet, with the Great Red Spot being the easiest to see through a telescope.
Astronomers aren’t exactly sure why the Great Red Spot is red in color, though it’s though that it is likely down to red phosphorus, though it could also be caused by some other sulfuric element. We do know that the center of the Spot is much redder than the rest, which suggests that it’s definitely affected by the environment it passes through.
Still though, the Great Red Spot doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. This high speed 270mph storm has been rampaging across the surface of the planet for more than 300 years now, as we first recorded the storm as existing in the mid 1650s.
In truth, it’s impossible for us to say that the planet is only one color. The truth is that it can change a whole lot over the course of the years, and this is in part down to the weather on the planet, but also comes down to the planet’s chemical makeup as well. Plus, we need to take into account the Sun’s light reflecting off the planet changed the color that we see too, as the chemicals are just reacting to the Sun’s beams.