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This is an image of Uranus.
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An Overview of Uranus' Atmosphere

The plain aquamarine face of Uranus confirms the fact that Uranus is covered with clouds. The sameness of the planet's appearance shows that the planet's atmosphere is mostly composed of one thing, methane. The planet appears to be blue-green because the methane gas of the atmosphere traps red light and does not allow that color to escape. Beside clouds of methane crystals low in the atmosphere, smog, composed of ethane (the same product that can provide fuel for automobiles), is also present high in the atmosphere. The cloud particles constantly recycle themselves, first creating then destroying the heaviest crystals. This is an indication that Uranus' atmosphere is still evolving from its formation out of the solar nebula. Because Uranus lies on its side, Uranus has very strange seasons. Motions in the cloud patterns indicate that, like Jupiter and Saturn, the basic weather of Uranus can be described as a striped pattern of winds. This means that, even though the pattern is hard to see, Uranus is striped, just like Jupiter and Saturn.

Last modified May 7, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF