Here are four different ways chemists use to show
a molecule of methane. In the colored molecule models, carbon is light gray
and hydrogen is white.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.
Methane - CH4
Methane is a kind of gas.
There is a small amount of methane in the air you breathe. A methane molecule
has carbon and hydrogen atoms
Methane is a greenhouse gas.
That means it helps make Earth warm. But if there was too much methane, that
could make our planet too warm.
Where does the methane in Earth's
atmosphere come from? Cow burps, for one place! Farming rice also puts methane
into the air. Some methane also comes
from garbage dumps. Termites make lots of methane, too. Swamps also make
Methane can burn. It is used as a fuel. It is one of the main gases in natural
gas. The heat in your home might be from natural gas. Methane is called a hydrocarbon
because it has hydrogen and carbon atoms in it.
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