Jupiter has long captured the imagination of Earth's inhabitants. This bright wandering celestial body half a billion miles away has influenced ancient myth makers and classical composers alike. Whose spine doesn't tingle at the sound of Gustav Holst's classic Jupiter?

Our name for the giant of the solar system comes from the Romans, who in turn translated the name from even more ancient Babylon who called it Marduk.

What color is this planet that has played such a role in Earth's many and varied cultures?


1. Jupiter's Blending Bands of Color

Jupiter consists of a mesmerizing blend of bands of milky white, reds, browns, yellows and many subtle shades between. The planet's unique mix of color is due to what is floating around in its atmosphere. Remember that as a gaseous planet, when we refer to the planet's color, we are actually referring to the color of the tops of its clouds.

As the sun's rays reach the planet's unique atmospheric layers, composed of a variety of elements such as hydrogen, helium, ammonia crystals and traces of water ice, all of these reflect different frequencies of the sun's light or the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The result is a planet characterized by a beautiful blend of subtly shifting multicolored bands.

Giant of the solar system inhauscreative / Getty Images

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