Telescopes Reveal Why  Uranus

Neptune Is More Blue Than

Neptune and Uranus

are so similar that scientists sometimes refer to the distant, icy planets as planetary twins.

But these ice giants 

have one big difference: their color. Neptune has a bright blue appearance. Uranus is a paler shade of cyan blue.

New space and

 ground-based telescope observations have revealed what's behind this difference in tone.

The difference was spotted

 only when NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by them in the 1980s and two planets were compared side by side

Astronomers used the 

Hubble Space Telescope to create a model that could match up observations of Neptune and Uranus.

Excess of haze builds up

 in Uranus' atmosphere, which gives it a lighter appearance. This haze is thicker on Uranus than a similar atmospheric layer on Neptune

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