Why are Planets Different Colors?
By Finley Alexander
Mars is an orange color because of it is covered with a fine dust made up of iron dioxide, or rust.
Saturn is a gas-giant with an outer atmosphere made mostly of helium and hydrogen. Other elements include traces of phospine, ammonia, hydrocarbons, and water vapor which give it its’ yellow-brown color.
Neptune has an atmosphere made of hydrogen and helium. It also contains methane gas which gives it the blueish color.
How do we know this?
We know what the planets’ surfaces and atmospheres are made of using different methods. For planets like Mars and Venus, man-made robots were sent to study the surface of those planets. For gas-giants, such as Jupiter, atmospheric probes have been dropped into the planets.
Scientists also use a tool called a spectrometer. A spectrometer is a tool that take a signal from the object they are looking at. Most spectrometers use light and work like a prism. They are able to separate colors which then are matched to different elements.