What Type of Weather Does Uranus Have?


Quick Answer

Uranus is banded with opaque blue clouds of hydrogen and helium, which makes observation of underlying weather systems difficult in visible light. In the infrared, however, the planet is seen to have what are by terrestrial standards very exotic weather patterns that behave in hard-to-predict ways. Uranus' storms, for example, can be larger than whole continents are on Earth and have winds of up to 560 mph.

Continue Reading
Related Videos

Full Answer

Weather patterns on Uranus can be unusually persistent; they can remain at one latitude for weeks, or they can race toward the polar regions at surprising speeds. The energy driving these storms is surprisingly powerful, given that Uranus is at an average distance from the Sun of around 30 AU, and the light it receives is 900 times weaker than it is on Earth. This makes it unlikely that energy from the Sun is driving the weather on Uranus, leading some astronomers to speculate that the planet has a worldwide conveyor belt that draws methane, which makes up 2 percent of the atmosphere, toward the polar regions. Given the near-horizontal tilt of Uranus and the fact that modern infrared telescopes have never gotten a view of the planet's north pole, it is possible that Uranus' far side has radically different weather patterns that are impossible to see from Earth.

Learn more about Meat, Poultry & Seafood

Related Questions