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It will never get old talking about Uranus.

That's because scientists are continually making new discoveries and bringing us closer to solving the mystery of how and when our distant planet came to be.


Fight the urge to interpret this as a punchline, because this latest examination is true: the University of Oxford researchers did some sniffing and determined that Uranus reeks like farts.

The team studied the planet's infrared light through the powerful Gemini North telescope, located atop a volcano in Hawaii, and found the cloud composition contained high amounts of hydrogen sulfide – the nasty culprit that causes the foul odor similar to that of flatulence and rotten eggs.



Our noses can detect trace amounts of the stinky compound when it is comprised as little as three out of a billion molecules in the air, according to the EPA.

But the olfactory assault on our nostrils can be deadly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it can take 30 minutes of exposure to a concentrated amount of a few parts per million for it to kill you, with symptoms not limited to "rapid unconsciousness, cessation of respiration, and death."

Patrick Irwin, the Oxford physicist who headed the research confirmed:

"If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus's clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions."


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Irwin added that no one would ever be able to smell the toxic odor because "suffocation and exposure in the negative 200 degrees Celsius atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium, and methane would take its toll long before the smell."


Scientists have long suspected the presence of hydrogen sulfide on Uranus but lacked enough evidence to determine if the cloud tops contained mostly hydrogen sulfide or ammonia.

Business Insider indicated that the elusive planet – which orbits the sun from 1.85 billion miles away – is difficult for scientists to study due to its vast distance and freezing temperatures that turn hydrogen-sulfide into ice crystals.

Chemical analyzing instruments called spectrometers designed to analyze gases and liquids aren't capable of analyzing the hydrogen-sulfide ice crystals, but the Gemini North telescope was a game changer in making the discovery.

Irwin explained:

"While the lines we were trying to detect were just barely there, we were able to detect them unambiguously thanks to the sensitivity of NIFS on Gemini, combined with the exquisite conditions on Maunakea."
"Although we knew these lines would be at the edge of detection, I decided to have a crack at looking for them in the Gemini data we had acquired."
"Now, thanks to improved hydrogen sulfide absorption-line data and the wonderful Gemini spectra, we have the fingerprint which caught the culprit."

The stench of Uranus was open season for jokes.










The next time someone accuses you of cutting the cheese, you can blame it on Uranus.

Or would that be an admission of guilt?

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