Friday, 26 February, 2021


Uranus smells like rotten eggs- gas giant has hydrogen sulphide rich atmosphere

Атмосфера Урана имеет запах тухлых яиц Despite decades of research the composition of the cloud of Uranium remains largely a mystery
Kristine Garrett | 24 April, 2018, 11:16

Because of its distance from Earth, the exact composition of Uranus's atmosphere has been hard to investigate, but scientists are finally able to conclude that the planet probably smells really bad.

Scientists have determined that the atmosphere above the planet Uranus is full of a gas that makes the distant planet smell like rotten eggs. Scientists have found evidence of hydrogen sulfide throughout the upper atmosphere of Uranus. Hydrogen sulfide is, after all, the compound that gives rotten eggs, and some more human out-gassings, their noxious odor.

"If an unfortunate human were to ever descend through Uranus' clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions", study co-author Patrick Irwin, a professor of planetary physics at the University of Oxford, said in the statement.

The only space probe to have been anywhere near the seventh planet from the Sun was Voyager 2, which swooped past in 1986.

Researchers have long wondered about the composition of the clouds high up in Uranus' sky - specifically, whether they're dominated by ammonia ice, as at Jupiter and Saturn, or by hydrogen sulfide ice. But a team of researchers finally managed to confirm the presence of hydrogen sulfide on Uranus, and they managed to do it using an interesting method that nobody had tried before: they pointed a spectroscopic telescope at the planet. He further adds, "Suffocation and exposure in the negative 200 degree Celsius atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium, and methane would take its toll long before the smell".

Hydrogen sulphide was detected in Uranus' cloud tops, reports the BBC.

The gas was identified with the help of an extremely sensitive instrument, known as the Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer (NIFS), which the scientists used to detect reflected sunlight from a region immediately above the main visible cloud layer on Uranus.

Chris Davis, a leading funder of the Gemini telescope at the United State's National Science foundation staed that the work done to discover that the amount of hydrogen sulfide was the cause of the odor was an innovative use of the instrument as the telescope is created to study explosive experiments around black holes.

The planets in our solar system can have dramatically different cloud decks based on how they were formed, the researchers explain. These planets have thick atmospheres filled with upper clouds of ammonia ice.

"Only a tiny amount remains above the clouds as a saturated vapour", said Fletcher. This sets Uranus apart from Jupiter and Saturn in yet another way, as those two planets have plenty of ammonia but no hydrogen sulfide in their atmospheres, Science Alert said.

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