Lunar and Planetary Institute

Jovan Poetry
EXPLORE! Solar System


Weather Stations: Jovian Poetry

Adapted from "Our Poetic Planet — Writing Poems about the Earth," Windows to the Universe Original (now stored at, at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). ©1995–1999, 2000.


Imaginations soar as children embark to describe Jupiter's clouds from a poet's perspective! They consider poems about Earth's clouds and artists' renderings of Jupiter's clouds as they compose their poems.

What's the Point?

  • The Juno spacecraft will study Jupiter's atmosphere and "see" more deeply into the cloud layers than any instrument has before.
  • The arts, including paintings and poetry, offer a way to describe and further explore our scientific understanding of the universe.


The following materials are for this Weather Stations activity.
Three sets are recommended for a station:

  • Selections of poems about clouds and weather from Internet (or book) resources:

    Poems that Describe the Earth, collected by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

  • Selections of Internet and book resources that offer animations, photographs, and artists' depictions of Jupiter's atmosphere (see the resources section for more suggestions):

    Cloud Layers and Red Spot on Jupiter
    Watch Jupiter's bands of clouds flow and the Great Red Spot churn in these side-by-side animations.

    NASA's Solar System Exploration Jupiter: Gallery
    Print or browse this wide selection of images about Jupiter.

    The Grand Tour: A Traveler's Guide to the Solar System
    Ron Miller and William K. Hartmann, Workman Publishing Company, 2005, ISBN 0761139095
    Older children and adults can tour our solar system without ever having to leave the comfort of Earth! The author provides a lot of information about the planets and other objects that share our solar system. Beautiful images accompany the up-to-the-minute science.

For each child:


1. Read some poetry about Earth's clouds and weather. Have the children record descriptive words from the poems in their journals.

  • Did the poet's words help you visualize the clouds and weather?
  • We have learned about Earth's clouds and weather from a scientific perspective at the other stations. What perspective do the poems offer?

2. Introduce the different types of poetry, including couplets and tercets, ballads, limericks, haiku, diamantes, as well as modern poetry that does not rhyme.

3. Ask the children to view images of Jupiter's atmosphere and compose a poem in their journals. Explain that scientists only have images of the upper clouds, but artists have painted pictures of what Jupiter's deeper atmosphere might look like. Suggest that the children use the vocabulary wall, if you have one set up for the Weather Stations activity, and their journal entries for ideas. Challenge them to use their scientific knowledge of Jupiter to describe its unseen atmosphere accurately!


Share that the Juno mission to Jupiter will help scientists understand how Jupiter's clouds and deep atmosphere may look. It is up to poets and artists to bring that understanding to life through words and art!

Our solar system is filled with unexplored places that have yet to be described by poetry. Would the children like to be those poet explorers?

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