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Appearance and Colors of the Atmospheres

Appearance and Colors of the Atmospheres - When the Voyager...

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Appearance and Colors of the Atmospheres What is puzzling about the clouds is their color. The ammonia ice clouds should be white, yet they have a variety or red, orange, yellow, and brown colors. Sunlight striking the clouds causes photochemical reactions with the molecules in the clouds. The resulting organic compounds, or trace amounts of sulfur and phosphorus may be responsible for the colors in the clouds. Uranus and Neptune also have thick cloud decks but Uranus' atmosphere does not have the prominent bands and storms seen on the other jovian planets. This is because Uranus does not have an extra internal heat source like the other jovian planets, so it does not have the convective motions in its atmosphere. Neptune's clouds are deflected to form bands parallel to its equator because of its rapid rotation. Neptune can also have turbulent eddies form in its atmosphere.
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Unformatted text preview: When the Voyager spacecraft flew by Neptune in 1989, it found a large dark storm, called the Great Dark Spot (very original, yes?), that was about the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. However, recent Hubble Space Telescope photographs show that the Great Dark Spot seems to have dissipated. Uranus (left) , Neptune (right) , and Earth to the same scale. Methane gives Uranus and Neptune their blue color. Neptune's Great Dark Spot is seen in the center of the Neptune image. Uranus and Neptune both have a blue color. Instead of ammonia clouds, their clouds are made of frozen methane crystals because they are much colder than Jupiter and Saturn. The red and orange colors of sunlight are absorbed by the methane in their atmospheres while the blue colors are scattered back out, producing the blue color with a faint greenish tinge....
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