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Scientists Say Uranus Smells Like Farts

by : Daniel Richardson on : 30 Oct 2020 16:36
Scientists Say Uranus Smells Like FartsScientists Say Uranus Smells Like FartsNASA/Pixabay

Jokes about Uranus are commonly heard in the playground, but it turns out that the planet actually would have a smell that could be compared to flatulence or rotting eggs. 

The clouds of Uranus contain hydrogen sulphide which is responsible for the unpleasant smells that come alongside farting and rotten eggs.

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A study of the planet was published by Nature Astronomy in which Patrick Irwin establishes the nature of the clouds of the planet and as a result what they would smell like.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Kevin M. Gill

Speaking to As It Happens the planetary physics professor at Oxford University explained what a person would smell on the planet:

If [a person] could survive the fall down to Uranus, they’d smell a horrible smell of rotten eggs.

I’m not sure anyone’s really looked to see what the human nose would do in a hydrogen-helium atmosphere with a bit of hydrogen sulphide, but I imagine that you would still smell this pungent aroma.

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This study utilised the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and began dissecting infrared light from the planet to identify the nature of the clouds on the planet. There had been previous theories that hydrogen sulphide was in the atmosphere of the planet, but this study managed to confirm it.

Eli Duke/Flickr

Smell aside, the study was designed to gain a better understanding of how planets in our solar system were formed. The research suggests that the ice planets like Uranus and Neptune, that were formed at the outer rim of the solar system, collected a solid form of hydrogen sulphine as it cultivated mass.

This is undoubtedly a fascinating piece of research, even if one of the key takeaways adds some legitimacy to childish jokes.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: News, Now, Space, Tech

Credits

Nature Astronomy
  1. Nature Astronomy

    Detection of hydrogen sulfide above the clouds in Uranus’s atmosphere