Uranus, Neptune and Titan atmospheres

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Uranus, Neptune and Titan atmospheres

Post by Diakonov on 19th May 2018, 3:08 pm

I wanted to know why the atmosphere of Uranus and Neptune are blue, while the atmosphere of Titan is orange, while they all have methane? I mean, if all these worlds have methane, what causes the difference of color between them? Shouldn't Uranus and Neptune also have an orange layer of organics, formed by the interaction of ultraviolet radiation in methane? Or maybe because Uranus and Neptune are too far from the sun for the methane molecules be broken by UV rays? Let's say we have a K or M star with a planet similar to Titan, with nitrogen and methane that is at a distance of 3 AU from the K star or at a distance of 1 AU from the M star. This planet is similar to Titan, but is orbiting both stars that emit less UV rays. In this case, the atmosphere would resemble more of Uranus and Neptune, or still we will have an orange atmosphere with an opaque layer?

Or Titan have something else that make it's atmosphere the way it is?

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Re: Uranus, Neptune and Titan atmospheres

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 19th May 2018, 10:27 pm

The orangeness of Titan's atmosphere is a result of the hydrocarbons or tholins that form in its atmosphere (wikipedia). So it's a qualitatively different phenomenon than what's going on at Uranus/Neptune. Uranus and Neptune also have a lot less nitrogen available for those methane derivatives to mix with to produce "organonitrogen" compounds.

I'm not at all a chemistry expert so if someone else knows more, please chime in!

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