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This is an image of a volcanic cloud which goes from the troposphere to the stratosphere.
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Image from: National Geographic magazine

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 on Earth, is a region where the atmosphere warms. Unlike the Earth however, where stratospheric warming is caused by the presence of ozone, the causes of the warming of the Uranian stratosphere are the hazes of methane to be found there. The mesosphere of Uranus, as on other planets, is a static region, a region of balance between incoming and outgoing energy. The thermosphere is the other region of the atmosphere where the atmosphere warms. The ionosphere is the region of the atmosphere that is filled with charged particles. For a picture showing how the temperature changes in whole atmosphere, click here.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...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

Uranus' Smog

Besides methane, Uranus' atmosphere contains even more complex molecules. These molecules form layers of smog over the clouds of Uranus, as shown in the picture. ...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 Changes of the Belts & Zones

On Uranus, as on Jupiter, the winds in the belts and zones blow first in one direction, then in the other direction. The clouds rise up in a belt, and drop down in a zone, as shown in this picture. This...more

Why Uranus looks like a "bullseye"

The clouds on Uranus, like Jupiter, are divided into stripes. On Uranus the stripes are hard to find. The left picture shows the north pole of Uranus. In this picture only the smog can be seen. The clouds,...more

Uranus Clouds, Overview

The clouds of Uranus, made of methane crystals, are found very low in the sky, and are difficult to find beneath the hazey smog of the pla net. False color is used, in the picture of Uranus to the right,...more

A Uranus summer = a Uranus day

In this picture, the Earth and Uranus are both viewed from the top. In the picture of the Earth, the sun is shining from the side. The picture shows that part of the north pole is in daylight and part...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