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Atmospheric Immolation?

  1. Aug 18, 2014 #1
    Hi, quick question for you guys.
    I was having a discussion the other day with a friend of mine, about whether it was possible to ignite the atmosphere of a planet, specifically gas giants; considering many are made of flammable gasses and compounds (hydrogen, methane etc...). I would have thought that without oxygen, one wouldn't be able to spark a flame anyway, but i would just like to know if there was any other way, and what would happen to the make up of the planet if it did. I'm not an astronomer or anything like that, so was just hoping if you guys could enlighten me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2014 #2


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    hi satsat

    welcome to PF :smile:

    Back in July 1994, many fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter and exploded violently in its mainly Hydrogen ( and a little Helium) atmosphere.

    The atmosphere wasn't ignited and didn't burn away. So I would suggest it would be pretty difficult to do so unless the appropriate gas concentrations in an atmosphere were just right for ignition and continuous burning.

  4. Aug 18, 2014 #3
    Thanks a lot Dave, I had thought the conditions would have to be pretty specific; it's good to have an event to defer to.
    Thanks again!
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