Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute
Explore! Jupiter's Family Secrets

Weather Stations: Clouds


Children observe Earth clouds and discover that Jupiter also has different kinds of clouds at its upper, middle, and lower levels. They consider whether the Juno mission will discover water clouds in Jupiter's lower atmosphere.

What's the Point?


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

For each child:



1. Observe clouds and weather outdoors. If there are no clouds or it is not possible to go outdoors, display images of clouds online, at a computer station, or in books or artwork for the children to observe. Guide the children to make general observations about the clouds in order to identify their type.

2. Provide a reference such as the Cloud Viewer and ask the children to estimate the altitude and composition of the clouds based on their types.

Invite the children to draw and describe the clouds in their journals.

3. Show the children Cloud Levels on Jupiter and compare Earth's clouds to Jupiter's.

4. Ask the children to imagine and draw the shapes of Jupiter's different cloud types. Prompt the children to remember what features distinguish Earth's clouds at the high, middle, and low levels of our atmosphere.


Share that Juno's instruments will "see" deeper into Jupiter's atmosphere than ever before! Juno will map the atmosphere's temperature at different depths from its orbit and gather information about the trace components water and ammonia. Scientists have been surprised to detect very little water during previous missions to Jupiter, and Juno's instruments will provide a deeper look into Jupiter's atmosphere on a hunt for the missing water.