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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