So, we have an incredibly advanced clarkean civilisation who, having achieved godlike technology, have taken to transforming whole planets and solar systems into works of art. One of these is Rainbow, a gas giant with stripes in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet at various latitudes.

What compounds/gases could be used to dye the gas giant stripes each of these colours?

  • $\begingroup$ Are the stripes ordered like an actual rainbow (purple->indigo->blue->green->yellow->orange->red) or can they be more random? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ They are ordered with the reds at the equator, and $\endgroup$
    – user98816
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ The oranges to the north and south, the yellows above and below these, the greens below and above these, and so on. $\endgroup$
    – user98816
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ Remember to edit the question; Comments are often skipped. I have no idea about the feasability of getting them ordered, so I guess it's best to make it as a bonus goal (ie. "Ideally" I would like them ordered this way...) than a strict condition :). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have time for a more comprehensive answer, but elements have colors depending on conditions. Neon is a great example. Depending on how you taint the neon and how you charge it, it glows different colors. However, if you're looking for a simple solution (e.g., sulfur to get yellow), I doubt you can get the rainbow. You'll need to use more complex solutions like tainted and electrified neon. There will be a lot of handwaving about how that's all done by your advanced species. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Metal Compounds + Aerosol (plus some halogens and chalcogens)

Aerosols have an extremely good advantage in which they can remain airborne for a really, really long time.

Metal dust cannot float on its own, it will sink down due to gravity. However, by binding them to an aerosol like certain CFC compounds, they can float in the air.

It also doesn't have to be metallic compounds. It can be done by non-metals as well.

So the order would be:

  • Red- Iron oxide

  • Orange- Crocoite (Lead chromate)

  • Yellow- Sulfur particles

  • Green- Chlorine gas

  • Blue- cobalt(II) aluminate (CoAl2O4)

  • Indigo- Powdered hydrated copper sulphate

  • Violet- NH4MnP2O7 (ammonium manganese(III) pyrophosphate)

Many of these compounds are really hard to synthesize using modern-day tech, but heck yeah, your civilization have godlike technology, so creating such a grand artwork would be a petty thing for such a civilization.

TL;DR Attach a bunch of metallic compounds to an aerosol and spray them over the planet in bands. The particles will be carried around by the winds to give it a distinct colour for each band.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd suggest copper oxide rather than chlorine gas for the green band; produces a more vivid green. Chlorine gas has always looked pretty washed-out to me. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Also, you're going to need a lot of chlorine to replace two of Jupiter's bands, maybe a lunar mass or so, and it will diffuse into other zones fairly rapidly. Coloured particles are more elegant, as well as more strongly coloured. However, the rainbow Jupiter will not stay that way for very long. The colours of the bands will mix over time, and it will end up as a muddy brown. Great idea for a festival, but it won't last. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting idea, but wouldn't the strong winds and atmospheric storms of a gas planet blow around the aerosol pretty quickly? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman The OP's question says that the civilization possesses God-level tech. So creating a lunar mass or so of aerosols and particles would be a petty thing for this civilization $\endgroup$
    – Alastor
    Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDallman Also, if they're terraforming a planet for the mere art of it, the ability to terraform the planet by creating/directing air currents seems trivial in comparison. $\endgroup$
    – Aos Sidhe
    Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 22:45

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