This is an image of Uranus' rings.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
The thermosphere is the other region of the atmosphere (beside the stratosphere
) where warming takes place. The thermosphere is the outermost region of the atmosphere, and interacts with the magnetosphere
. The temperature is raised by incoming particles from the magnetosphere as well as the sun's ultraviolet radiation. For a picture showing how the temperature changes in this region, click here
There is no top, or thermopause, to the thermosphere, and Uranus' atmosphere extends to the distance of the rings, a unique feature among the planets. The rings, therefore, experience the kind of drag that some terrestrial communication satellites also undergo. This drag can cause them to slow down so much in orbit that they fall out of orbit and plunge back to the ground. (as did SKYLAB, circa 1980). In spite of this drag, Uranus' rings are perpetually replenished. The ring particles seem to be very much younger than Uranus itself. The source of fresh material for Uranus' rings remains a mystery.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
This diagram shows the temperature profile of Uranus' stratosphere. The temperature becomes warmer with height until the stratopause, or "top" of the stratosphere is reached. As shown in the figure, the...more
The magnetosphere of Uranus is medium sized, but still much bigger than the Earth's. It holds all of Uranus' moons. It is probably made in the middle of the planet, and with ice, rather than with iron...more
This is the temperature profile of Uranus' thermosphere. The thermosphere is the other region of the atmosphere where warming takes place. On Uranus, incoming particles from the magnetosphere play a strong...more
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
Besides methane, Uranus' atmosphere contains even more complex molecules such as ethane gas. (These gases are similar to the exhaust gases that come out of cars on earth). These molecules form layers of...more
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
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