Astronomy Laboratory 7 – Solar System Storms

Module Introduction

A Martian Dust Devil and its shadow are shown.
A Martian Dust Devil and its shadow. This dust devil has been nicknamed “The Serpent Dust Devil.” Image captured by the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft. [“The_Serpent_Dust_Devil_on_Mars_PIA15116” by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona, in the Public Domain ]

In light of the recent tropical storms and hurricanes, in this lab, you will examine storms throughout the Solar System. Cyclone-like storms rage on Jupiter and Saturn, dwarfing our tropical storms. More tornadoes occur in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Dust devils on Mars dwarf the dust devils seen here on Earth and can rival EF1-EF2 tornadoes. Lightning has been observed on a number of other planets. (1)


At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast storms on Earth with those in space
  • Describe lightning on Jupiter
  • Identify storm phenomena (1)


The material in this module includes content designed to meet the following course outcomes:

  • Explain and apply major concepts in astronomy including planets, satellites, stars, meteors, galaxies, and theories of the universe.
  • Communicate scientific ideas through oral or written assignments.
  • Interpret scientific models such as formulas, graphs, tables and schematics, draw inferences from them and recognize their limitations. (1)

Assigned Readings

Learning Unit 7


  • Solar System Storms Exercise
  • Lab 7 Quiz (1)