We’ve always known Uranus smells like farts. Now, there’s scientific evidence to back it up.
On Monday, researchers confirmed news that delighted astronomers, 9-year-olds, and everyone in between: The seventh planet from the sun has an atmosphere full of concentrated hydrogen sulfide— that same unpleasant rotten-eggs smell humans emit when they fart.
The study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, came as a surprise to scientists who’d previously thought the planet’s atmosphere contained far more ammonia. However, a team of Oxford University scientists used a 26-feet-long telescope at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii to determine that Uranus’ atmosphere is, indeed, chockfull of fart smell.
“If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus’ clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions,” team leader Patrick Irwin said in a statement to Space.com, “[But] suffocation, and exposure…would take its toll long before the smell.”
If you can believe it, this discovery brings far more value to the world than mere Uranus jokes: By determining the actual composition of the planet’s atmosphere, scientists have a better understanding of how and when it was formed, in turn providing valuable data about the formation of the solar system. A press release from the research team states that the hydrogen sulfide revelation is “invaluable in understanding Uranus’ birthplace, evolution and refining models of planetary migrations.”
Though most people alive will probably never have the chance to visit Uranus, NASA planetary scientist Glenn Orton told Business Insider that researchers are already working on a proposal for a new Uranus probe, which would help determine the birthdates of surrounding planets. It’s just as well; The noxious gases of Uranus could kill a man.