What Are Saturn's Atmospheric Gases?


Quick Answer

The atmospheric gases on Saturn consist mostly of helium and hydrogen. The outer atmosphere of Saturn contains more than 96 percent molecular hydrogen and more than 3 percent helium. The upper atmosphere is separated into a band of clouds made up of hydrogen and helium as well as other gases.

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Full Answer

The atmosphere of Saturn also contains trace amounts of ammonia, methane, acetylene, propane, ethane and phosphine. The upper clouds on the planet are composed of mostly of ammonia crystals, which form ice. The lower level of clouds on Saturn contains ammonium hydrosulfide or water. Ultraviolet radiation created by the sun causes methane photolysis in Saturn’s upper atmosphere, meaning that methane is broken down into its component elements by the light.

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