Uranus is a seriously stinky planet

It is scientific fact, folks
uranus voyager1 Giant egg ... or gas giant? (NASA/JPL)

The verdict is in! Planet Uranus smells like farts.

Oh dear. This changes everything.

Can't hide from hydrogen sulfide

Embed from Getty Images

Yes, this is the honest-to-goodness truth coming from scientists studying the planet's atmosphere. You see, by observing the light that is refracted (or bounced back) off of clouds in Uranus' clouds, researchers can determine what elements and compounds it is made of. In this case, it is dominated by the putrid-smelling hydrogen sulfide. So imagine the worst rotten egg smell everβ€”and you've just travelled to Uranus!

We can't make this stuff up.

Of course without oxygen, we would not survive long enough in Uranus' atmosphere to be worried much by the awful smell. But still, that is a rough blow for a planet with an already stinky reputation.

How did it go down?

Uranus planet forming

Analyzing the atmospheres of planets helps scientists to better understand who stunk up the universe just now ... no wait, er, where in the solar system they were first formed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

So why were scientists interested in what was going on in these clouds? It helps to settle a debate about the early formation of the planets. For example, were the four gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) all formed in a similar part of the solar system before drifting apart from each other? Or did they essentially form where they are now?

This discovery suggests that it's the latter. Both Saturn and Jupiter have clouds dominated by ammonia ice. Meanwhile, Uranus and its cousin, Neptune, have been blessed with the stinkier sulfide clouds, confirming that they formed further away from the Sun. So does that mean Neptune stinks, too? Probably. But is it as stinky as planet Uranus? That'll take some further sniffing ... we mean, investigating!

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  1. My teacher does not think this is true


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