This true color mosaic of Jupiter is the most detailed global color portrait of Jupiter ever produced; the smallest visible features are approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) across. Everything visible on the planet is a cloud. Unlike Earth, where only water condenses to form clouds, Jupiter's clouds are made of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and water. The parallel reddish-brown and white bands, the white ovals, and the large Great Red Spot persist over many years despite the intense turbulence visible in the atmosphere.
The prominent dark band in the northern half of the planet is the location of Jupiter's fastest jet stream, with eastward winds of 480 kilometers (300 miles) per hour. Jupiter's diameter is eleven times that of Earth, so the smallest storms on this mosaic are comparable in size to the largest hurricanes on Earth.
Released November 13, 2003
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute