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Jupiter's hydrogen sea with massive bolts of lightning; gas giant; jovian planet; degenerate matter; compressed hydrogen - Space Art Illustration

Jupiter's hydrogen sea

Miles beneath Jupiter's brown clouds of ammonia, hydrogen and helium lies mysterious realm where the weight of the atmosphere above far exceeds the pressures found in Earth's deepest oceans. It is believed that in this realm, somewhere between Jupiter's cloud tops and the jovian core, the atmosphere gives way to a planet-wide ocean of liquid hydrogen.

This image suggests that there is a clear demarcation between atmosphere and the hydrogen sea--a dark, extremely dense world where giant bolts of lightning erupt from the ever-changing electrical potential between liquid and gas. Too deep for sunlight to penetrate, the only light here is from the glow of this ubiquitous lightning.

Further down toward Jupiter's core the pressure continues to rise until the liquid hydrogen is compressed to an electrically conductive form known as liquid metallic hydrogen. Beyond that there is likely a highly-compressed, earth-size rocky core.


Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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