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Uranus smells like farts, rotten eggs according to Oxford researchers

The Solar System’s most joked about planet, Uranus, is getting attention now as scientists have discovered it smells like rotten eggs and flatulence, more commonly referred to as a fart.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and other institutions published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy Monday, which says the upper layer of Uranus’s atmosphere consists largely of hydrogen sulfide–that same compound that gives farts their rancid smell.

The researchers used NASA’s Gemini Telescope in Hawaii to observe Uranus’s cloud cover.

“We’ve strongly suspected that hydrogen sulfide gas was influencing the millimeter and radio spectrum of Uranus for some time, but we were unable to attribute the absorption needed to identify it positively,” Glenn Orton, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and one of the researchers said in a news release. “Now, that part of the puzzle is falling into place as well.”

“If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus’s clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions,” Patrick Irwin from the University of Oxford said. But before experiencing the smell, suffocation would likely kill them first.

“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,” Irwin said.

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