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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is a diagram of a molecule of PAN. Can you see how the bottom right corner of the PAN molecule came from a nitrogen dioxide (NO2) molecule?
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.

PAN (Peroxyacytyl nitrate) - C2H3O5N

PAN (Peroxyacytyl nitrate) is a kind of air pollution. It is part of smog. PAN makes people's eyes hurt and it is bad for your lungs. It also damages plants.

PAN forms when some other kinds of chemicals get together in the air. One of the chemicals that makes PAN is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide comes from the engines of cars and trucks and from factories and power plants that burn coal. Other chemicals that help make PAN are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs get into the air from paint, gasoline, and other chemicals. Sunlight changes the VOCs into other chemicals. Those chemicals get together with oxygen and nitrogen dioxide to make PAN.

Last modified February 16, 2006 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA