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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This is an image of Uranus.
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NASA

An Overview of Uranus' Atmosphere

The bland aquamarine face of Uranus bears witness to the fact that Uranus is enshrouded in clouds. The planet appears to be blue-green because the atmosphere absorbs the red wavelengths of the visible spectrum . The uniformity of the planet's appearance confirms that the planet's atmosphere is composed almost solely of one element, methane gas. There is a preponderance of haze, composed of ethane and other hydrocarbon ices high in the stratosphere, and clouds of methane ice low in the troposphere. 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 meteorology of Uranus can be described as a striped pattern of winds. This means that, even though the pattern is difficult to distinquish, 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 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