back to article Astroboffins discover the stink of eggy farts wafting from Uranus

Scientists have solved a pressing mystery about our Solar System. Does Uranus smell like farts? Yes, yes it does. A paper published on Monday in Nature confirms that Uranus contains clouds of hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs. "If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus' clouds, they would …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. JassMan Silver badge
    Joke

    so how many other planets smell of gone off food?

    The discovery marks another distinction between the ice giants - Uranus and Neptune - and the gas giants - Jupiter and Saturn. Neptune is also presumed to contain hydrogen sulfide gas, whilst the gas giants have ammonia and ammonia ice in its upper clouds.

    I'm glad they told us that, otherwise I would have thought Neptune smells of dead fish (ammonia) -- he's the god of the sea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so how many other planets smell of gone off food?

      Pluto smells of wet dog.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: so how many other planets smell of gone off food?

        Ahem, not really a planet is it?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: so how many other planets smell of gone off food?

          Mars smells of chocolate?

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: so how many other planets smell of gone off food?

            Well, your mum's planet sized.

  3. Zwuramunga

    They changed the name

    To Urectum.

  4. VeganVegan
    Alien

    What’s the similarity between the starship ‘Enterprise’ and toilet paper?

    They both orbit Uranus, and wipe out Klingons.

    Kid’s joke a I heard some years ago.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs space travel?

    Just go to Rotorua in NZ, smells like Uranus anyway :)

  6. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Where the Sun don't shine

    ...on Gemini filters the sunlight reflected above the clouds in Uranus’ atmosphere into spectral lines...

    Well done to those boffins for finding that, contrary to common public opinion, the Sun does shine on Uranus.

  7. the Kris

    If it smells like farts, then light a match.

  8. Bob Wheeler

    Naming Uranus

    I'm sure poor old Sir William Herschel who discovered and named Uranus back in 1781 is spinning in his grave at how much mirth and fun he has given the school play ground level of humour.

    1. John Mangan

      Re: Naming Uranus

      I can't help thinking he knew what he was doing......

      1. JassMan Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Naming Uranus @John Mangan

        Yep. Everybody's anus probably whiffs of H2S at some time or another given how many foods promote H2S production, although it does depend on intestinal biota as well. Some research indicates that the healthier your diet, the more likely you are to have eggy farts. In fact given the comments about how dangerous H2S is, it is amazing how the human race hasn't died out millenia ago.

        Oops, just dropped one. I'll just get my coat and clear the room.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Naming Uranus @John Mangan

          "I'll just get my coat and clear the room."

          If it were one of _mine_ it would clear the building...

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Optional, related reading

    If you enjoyed this El Reg article then you will enjoy this book.

    Ah, to be a school boy again!

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Optional, related reading

      @alain W:

      My mother just bought that for my youngest.....

      (who said you had to be a young male to have a sense of (toilet) humour)

  10. Frederic Bloggs
    Headmaster

    H2S isn't just a nasty smell

    In fact, it is likely the stuff that kills you, rather than the hydrogen and the low temperatures - assuming one would ever want to go there. Hydrogen Sulphide is nasty enough to have official dosage and emission limits in laboratories. And it isn't very much (now 1ppm over an 8 hour shift with a 15ppm max). LD50 is 800ppm and one breath may be enough at that level.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: H2S isn't just a nasty smell

      Ha! I read that as HS2. Too much time spent complaining on rail forums.

      H2S is nasty. One of the effects it has is to paralyse the olfactory nerve, so you stop smelling it pretty quickly. As you go down the periodic table, the smell gets worse too. I have heard tell of one chap who was working with hydrogen telluride; when he got on the tube to go home, at the next stop the entire carriage emptied, but he couldn't smell a thing.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: H2S isn't just a nasty smell

        I think I vaguely remember reading about hydrogen telluride in Ignition!

        "There are, after all, some chemicals that explode shatteringly, some that flame ravenously, some that corrode hellishly, some that poison sneakily, and some that stink stenchily. As far as I know, though, only liquid rocket fuels have all these delightful properties combined into one delectable whole."

        Ah, no. The bit I was thinking of was discussing the use of butyl mercaptans as a rocket fuel. ...Apperantly the idea stunk.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: H2S isn't just a nasty smell

        H2S is nasty. One of the effects it has is to paralyse the olfactory nerve, so you stop smelling it pretty quickly. As you go down the periodic table, the smell gets worse too.

        H2Se has the distinct reek of rotten cabbage, and H2Te of garlic. At room temperature H2S and the other two are gas.

        Going up instead of down in the periodic table we encounter dihydrogen monoxide, a colourless, neutral liquid.

        Chemistry is funny like that.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: H2S isn't just a nasty smell

      sulfur is chemically similar to oxygen. An alcohol formed with sulfur in place of the oxygen is a 'thiol', for example. H2S is a bit like H2O except that it's not a liquid, probably because the hydrogen bonds don't work the same way. but sulfur compounds are important in organic things and so you get them a LOT, particularly when you eat a lot of eggs and beans.

      But yeah the most pungent odors are of the sulfur variety. H2S, methane thiol [which is what is often added to natural gas lines so they stink], and of course, SO2, all stink like rotting eggs because that's kind of what rotting eggs produce from the bacteria and anaerobic digestion.

      I think skunk musk is also a sulfur-based compound...

  11. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No obvious reference?

    Farnsworth - smelliscope. My gast is flabbered...

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: No obvious reference?

      let's change it's name to "U-rectum" to avoid the "yer anus" jokes...

  12. Fungus Bob Silver badge
    Coat

    Can't believe that nobody commented on the picture yet

    Ooh, such lovely rings around Uranus...

    Mine's long enough to keep Myanus covered.

  13. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    mind the smell, mine the diamonds

    pointing this out as well (from almost a year ago)

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/21/how_diamonds_got_in_uranus/

  14. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Not to mention that H2S is, in fact, poisonous.

  15. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Sometimes

    Things just fall into place.

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