Scientists Say Uranus Smells Like Rotten Eggs and Neptune Turned Blue Holding Breath
Space nerds confirm that the planet smells the way it sounds.
In a study that used a high-powered telescope to peer at the clouds over Uranus, scientists have confirmed that the atmosphere of the planet with the best name would definitely smell like rotten eggs and farts.
Study Confirms Gas Clouds Over Uranus
In a study published yesterday in Nature entitled Detection of hydrogen sulfide above the clouds in Uranus’s atmosphere, several well-educated eggheads were able to use visual observations of the planet to extrapolate information from its nearly-visible, barely-infrared atmospheric appearance.
By observing the light, it’s possible to tell what chemical structure underlies it. On a basic level, we use light to determine physical facts. The yellow light at the center of a log fire is hotter than the red on the edges.
The scientists declare that they have “unambiguously identified” the composition of the sky above Uranus, which is sulfur and nitrogen.
Chemical Structure Exactly What You’d Expect From Uranus
Previously, space nerds have assumed that the clouds of gas overtop the planet’s surface were composed of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, a comparably smelly mix. But, that was the inference before scientists were able to directly observe the planet.
But, no man has yet visited the planet. Study co-author Patrick Irwin said:
“…if an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus’ clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odoriferous conditions.”
The long-distance observations for this study were made through a telescope at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. Irwin reported:
“We were able to detect the fingerprint of [hydrogen sulphide] in the light reflected from Uranus’ clouds. From the strength of the fingerprint, we were able to figure out how much [hydrogen sulphide] is present at the cloud tops.”
Why Is This Important?
I don’t care about space, and all this research sounds like it was done by a bunch of nerds who spent too many Saturday nights indoors watching Star Trek. But exploration of this kind is not simply for interest, it’s important for understand the atmospheres around the sun and other planets. The sun, at least, is something I use every day. But how understanding the composition of that “dust disk” that formed the sun is still a bit beyond me.
Last year, the eggheads at NASA said that both Uranus and Neptune are important in understanding how planets form.
Why Is It Called Uranus?
A victim of unfortunate naming conventions, the planet Uranus was named for an ancient Roman god of the sky. The planet was only named in 1850 because it is invisible to the naked eye, and was named for a Roman god because the ones that could be seen from the earth had already been associated with them since antiquity.
It’s simply an unfortunate fact that name of the plant sounds like a butt to English speakers. In a misfortune way, it is the name of the planet that gives it the most space in the news.
Last Night: Planet X’s Catastrophic Doomsday
A few weeks ago we reported that a Christian conspiracy theorist was warning that a planetary line-up of several stars along with Jupiter and the moon fulfilled a prediction in the book of Revelation. At the time I correctly predicted that the world would not end, but I enjoyed looking into the idea that the dawn of the anti-Christ would coincide with the emergence of the shadowy Planet X.
“For years, the eggheads at NASA have been forced to discuss the “death planet” known as X and Nibiru, denying its existence. The planet was first proposed in 1995 by Nancy Lieder, a Wisconsin woman who claims that as a child, aliens implanted a communications device in her brain.”
At least it wasn’t a government communications device, like the one accidentally sent to a journalist requesting information on hate groups. Among the dozens of pages of state and federal law enforcement documents was a zipped folder containing 25-year-old drawings from a lawsuit by a guy alleging the feds were using technology to tap into the brains of hundreds of Americans.
Of course I shouldn’t make fun of people who think the government is into mind control. I just wrote an article about Uranus.
Sources: Nature, Gizmodo