Cool Infographic Compares the Chemistry of Planetary Atmospheres

Here on Earth we enjoy the nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere we’ve all come to know and love with each of the approximately 24,000 breaths we take each day (not to mention the surprisingly comfortable 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure it exerts on our bodies every moment.) But every breath we take would be impossible (or at least quickly prove to be deadly) on any of the other planets in our Solar System due to their specific compositions. The infographic above, created by UK chemistry teacher Andy Brunning for his blog Compound Interest, breaks down — graphically, that is; not chemically — the makeup of atmospheres for each of the planets. Very cool!

In addition to the main elements found in each planet’s atmosphere, Andy includes brief notes of some of the conditions present.

“Practically every other planet in our solar system can be considered to have an atmosphere, apart from perhaps the extremely thin, transient atmosphere of Mercury, with the compositions varying from planet to planet. Different conditions on different planets can also give rise to particular effects.”

– Andy Brunning, Compound Interest

And if you’re thinking “hey wait, what about Pluto?” don’t worry — Andy has included a sort of postscript graphic that breaks down Pluto’s on-again, off-again atmosphere as well. See this and more descriptions of the atmospheres of the planets on the Compound Interest blog here.

Source: Compound Interest on Twitter

6 Replies to “Cool Infographic Compares the Chemistry of Planetary Atmospheres”

  1. Infographics are great. I am finding it interesting that Mercury has 22% Hydrogen in its atmosphere. Yes it says it is a trillionth the atmosphere of the Earth, but I’m amazed that any Hydrogen can remain in any of the terrestrial atmospheres. I wonder how this tenuous atmosphere is held together at all? Is it from a magnetic field trapping it? I can’t believe any Hydrogen is there at all.

      1. Thank you very cool. I guess I’m surprised just how much of the Hydrogen is trapped by the tenuous atmosphere. Great link thanks again.

  2. If I remember correctly, Mercury has an exosphere which means that gas radiate from the surface and away from the planets gravity field. Those molecules don’t even collide with each other. Hydrogen flying off Mercury is probably caused by the radiation and/or solar wind from the Sun which excites atoms there. Solar wind mostly consists of hydrogen ions (protons) and they hit Mercury.

    Yes, it is a bit silly to put Mercury on a list of planets with “atmosphere”.

  3. I am amazed that Venus and Mars are about the same. And all the gas giants are very similar, with Jupiter and Saturn about the same, and Uranus and Neptune about the same and having methane.

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