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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.

The Size of the Planet Matters




Mercury
(small)

Venus
(medium sized)

Jupiter
(very large)

Hydrogen (H) less than 1 hour days over the age of the Universe
Helium (He) roughly 1 day 100 times the age of the solar system over the age of the Universe
Oxygen (O) 800 million years over the age of the Universe over the age of the Universe

This table shows the time it takes, on average, for a few common atmospheric gases to escape the gravity of a planet. The table shows that as the planets get larger (more massive), it is harder for the gases to escape. The table shows that the average time for any gas to escape from Jupiter's gravity is much too long. The same is true for all the Giant planets. Therefore it is likely that all the gases in Uranus' atmosphere are probably the original gases swept up by the proto-Uranus.


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Uranus' Smog

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

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 Changes in 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

Why Uranus looks like a "bullseye"

The clouds on Uranus, like Jupiter, are divided into belts and zones. On Uranus the belts and zones are hard to find. The left picture shows the north pole of Uranus. In this picture only the smog of...more

Uranus Clouds, Overview

The clouds of Uranus, composed of methane crystals, are found very low in the atmosphere, and are difficult to see below the smog haze s of the planet. False color is used, in the image of Uranus to the...more

A Uranus summer = a Uranus day

In this picture, the Earth and Uranus are both viewed from the top. In the view of the Earth, the sun is shining from the left, and part of the north pole is in daylight and part of the north pole is in...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