|How do planets get their color?|
|Question Date: 2017-05-10|
The planets in our solar system are made of
many different compounds and materials. For
example, the surface of Mars is made up of a lot
of rusted material, like the red stuff you see on
old metal, so when we look through the telescope
the whole planet seems to be red. The moon is more
of more grey/white rocks, so when the sun reflects
its light off of the surface, we see a white moon.
Uranus has a very clear atmosphere, and is covered
in methane gas. That gas absorbs the color red and
reflects green and blue, so that's what we see
through the telescope. So it all boils down to
what the planet is made of and which colors that
material absorbs and reflects.
Plants are colorful because they contain chemicals
called pigments. A pigment is a small molecule
that absorbs certain colors of light, but reflects
A pigment found in most plants is called
chlorophyll (which helps the plant produce
energy for itself from sunlight). Chlorophyll
reflects green light, which makes many plants
appear green. However, many plants (like
wildflowers!) contain other pigments that reflect
many different colors of light, resulting in
plants of many different colors.
The color of each planet is determined by what
they are made up or how their atmosphere
absorbs and reflects light from the sun. For
instance, Mercury has a greyish brown color
surface due to its rocky surface; Venus has
a swirling yellow and white specks on its surface.
This is due by volcanic activity all around
the surface and the swirling yellow are because
of sulfuric acids and the white specks are
Earth has a blue, green, brown, and white
surfaces. The blue is the vast blue oceans
and beaches. The brown and green specks are the
lands that we walk around. The white color are
the numerous clouds you see in the sky
Mars is known as a red planet, with a red color
surface covering the planet. The red color is
caused by a very high level of iron oxide.
Jupiter has a thick bands of red, brown,
yellow, and white color around its surface.
This color is fromhydrogen, helium, and ice
crystals. Saturn is made up of hydrogen and
helium, however, the planet gets yellow brown
color by water vapors and hydrocarbons.
Uranus and Neptune have a turquoise blue
appearance because they have a lot of methane.
The methane absorbs the red end of the color
spectrum. Therefore, when the sunlight is bounced
back to the eye, you see the blue color.
The color of a planet is revealed by the light
reflected. There are two important factors to
consider: what makes the planet, and the cloud (or
atmosphere) around the planet.
If there is no cloud, we are directly viewing
the surface of a planet. We have the gray color in
moon because of the rocky surface. We have the
deep blue color of our planet Earth from the deep
ocean, if cloud is not blocking our view.
If there is cloud, then the color is reflected
by the nature of the clouds. For example, in our
planet, the clouds are white because they are made
of water. The pale blue color in Uranus is because
of the methane clouds. You may find different
colors because the clouds are different from one
planet to another.
Planets have different colors because of the
chemicals that make them u. Earth is blue
because most of its surface is water, which
absorbs red light. Mars is red because much of its
dust is made of the mineral hematite (i.e.
rust), which is red. Venus is white because it is
cloud-covered. And so on.
This question is really interesting because the
planets are all so distinctly colored and that
makes us think that there must be a reason for it,
and there is! The planets get their color from
the color of their surface, or if it’s think
enough, the color of their atmosphere. Planets
like Mercury and Mars, are covered almost
entirely by rocks and sand. Since these
structures are primarily grey on Mercury and red
on Mars, the planets appear to be that color.
Venus has a really thick atmosphere, full
of clouds of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid.
These molecules give the planet a yellowish
appearance even though the rocks underneath
probably aren’t yellow. The gas giants (Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) work similarly to
Venus in that the planets’ color is determined by
the molecules in their atmosphere. Thank you for
What we actually see is light bouncing off
the planets, and hitting our eyes. When we
look at the moon, we see the bright, white surface
of the moon, because light bounces off the surface
of the rocky moon, and then travels to Earth and
hits our eyes.
The moon looks white because the surface is
made up of feldspar, a white material that
reflects light. On other planets, their
surfaces are made up of other materials of
different colors. Looking at Uranus, we see a
light blue planet, because the methane clouds
covering the surface of Uranus reflect blue light.
On Mars, the surface is made up of a thin layer of
rust, which reflects red light. This is also the
color fo rust here on Earth!
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