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This is a drawing which illustrates the composition of the atmosphere of Uranus relative to possibilities for other planets.
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An Overview of Uranus' Atmospheric Composition

Unlike Saturn and Jupiter, where the atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium, the atmosphere of Uranus contains a greater percentage of the more complex gases, such as methane. There are clouds of methane ice low in the troposphere. Present also in large percentages are very sophisticated atmospheric constituents such as ethane gas, acetylene, and diacetylene. These form hazes high in the upper atmosphere.

One of the reasons these are the primary constituents of the atmosphere of Uranus is that Uranus evolved from the more sophisticated hydrocarbons and ices rather than solely from hydrogen and helium.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Uranus' Methane Clouds

The methane cloud deck of Uranus is found low in the troposphere. The methane clouds are the only clouds to be found on Uranus. The location of the clouds is predicted based upon the temperature at which...more

Uranus' Atmospheric Hazes

Besides methane, Uranus' atmosphere contains more sophisticated atmospheric molecules such as ethane gas, acetylene, and diacetylene. All these molecules form layers of haze at different altitudes high...more

Uranus Clouds, Overview

The clouds of Uranus, composed of methane crystals, are found very low in the troposphere, and are difficult to distinquish below the smog haz es of the planet's atmosphere. False color is used, in the...more

The position of Uranus when gas changed to ice

The position of the planets in the solar nebula greatly affected their 1. size and 2. composition. This is because of the effect of how cold it was in the nebula. 1. The nebula was a lot warmer close to...more

Uranus' Mesosphere

The mesosphere of Uranus is a region of balance between warming and cooling. That essentially means that nothing happens there. Except for diffusion, the atmosphere is still. Upper reaches of the atmosphere,...more

An Overview of Uranus' Atmospheric Structure

As on Earth, the atmosphere of Uranus consists of a troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. The troposphere is the region where the visible clouds are to be found. The stratosphere, as...more

Altitude Variations of the Belts & Zones

On Uranus, as on Jupiter, the winds in the belts and zones blow first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Wind blows east in a belt, and west in a zone. The clouds rise up in a belt, and...more

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