A planet little bigger than earth with slightly less gravity.

Colder than the earth, with longer days and shorter years. And water prevalence: 32% (23% surface water and 9% subterranean) and two moons.

Other specifications

  • Larger and slower waves
  • Taller plants
  • Larger and faster animals
  • Thinner atmosphere - more wind
  • Thinner atmosphere - orangeish sky
  • Taller mountains

How will the water be on such a planet? Can it be different in color? An orangeish shade to match the sky? Is it scientifically possible?

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    May 24 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ This somewhat depends on your star, atmospheric composition (gasses and dust) and what the sea is made of (say, if it contains clay/orange algae). Could you give us a bit more to go on, it's very broad and undefined at the moment. Either that, or it's just asking for the answer "yes" or "no" without giving a lot of context which I suspect wouldn't be much help to your worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ May 24 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ Orange sky is actually bigger problem than orange water. Water can be colored by something, but sky color is dominantly caused by Rayleigh scattering and that is stronger for shorter wavelengths independent of the composition of the gas. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    May 24 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec How does Titan, have for example, orange skies then? $\endgroup$ May 25 at 15:30

3 Answers 3


Water is Blue

Water is blue. But only slightly blue. In small amounts, the blueness is too weak, and the water is the colour of whatever is dissolved in it. For example mud and coca cola are brown. Urine can have a wide range of colours depending on the ingredients. It can even be orange.

enter image description here

That is one option for orange water. Dissolved urea (Edit: dissolved urochrome). Another is dissolved iron. This is what happens when iron water pipes rust.

enter image description here

I am sure there are other dissolved things that work equally well.

This should not be a problem for complex life. Consider the caustic soda lakes of Earth. These have shrimp and flamingoes specially adapted to live in the alkaline water. A little urea or iron is no problem if they have time to evolve.

The ocean is blue because (a) water is blue and (b) because it reflects the blue sky. If the sky is orange instead then (a) does not work because blue is opposed to orange on the colour wheel.

enter image description here

So all the light that comes from the sea is the reflected light. You get a dark sea.

enter image description here

Note you can find pictures where the sea is orange and not dark. This would happen if (b) a lot of light is reflected. However it is hard to trust the orange sea photos are not photoshopped to make the sunset look more beautiful.

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In this video we see some orange in the middle of a dark sea.

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That suggests some orangeness is indeed possible. And the video is harder to fake than the picture. Though there are still options to fiddle with the colour balance.

The only way to be sure is to go to the beach at sunset and see for yourself. Have fun.

Note: There is a subtle point about the difference between (A) an orange sky and (B) only orange light reaching the surface. I think during sunset (B) happens because other things are tinted orange and not just the sky. This is equivalent to the sun being orange. But it is possible there is another way for (A) to happen with a white sun.

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    $\begingroup$ So If the sky is red, There is a chance of a violet ocean, and if the sky is yellow, green ocean? Wow... Love the possibilities. Yellowish sky, with the hint of some red and orange and green sea with a slight violet shade :) $\endgroup$
    – Sangeetha
    May 24 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Sangeetha Yes I think so. But see my point about the difference between a red sky and a red sun. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 24 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ How dd you get that picture of my bathroom sink? $\endgroup$ May 24 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ Urea is colorless when dissolved into water. The color of urine is from urochrome. $\endgroup$
    – R.M.
    May 24 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ How did you get that picture of my urine collection? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    May 24 at 22:10

It already can happen on earth! All you need is some organism in water that is orange. Those already exist.

This phenomenon as far as I know typically happens in saltwater lakes. Many lakes have turned orange or red, even pink sometimes. The organism thought to be the main culprit is Dunalielle salina, though other species in Dunalielle are also thought to also have this characteristic color.

In your world a similar organism could color the water.

  • $\begingroup$ I wanted a more natural cause, which can apply to all large water bodies. Just like most of the seawater on earth is blue. As mentioned in the above answer, I thought one reason for blue water is because it reflects the blue sky. $\endgroup$
    – Sangeetha
    May 24 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Sangeetha naturally occurring organisms seem fairly natural to me. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    May 24 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_lake $\endgroup$ May 25 at 0:51

I have lived in places with orange water! In areas with iron deposits, you can get water that is entirely potable (drinkable) but still tinted orange by trace iron minerals. Boiling would remove it, but thats not nessacary for most uses. Now the stuff we got came from wells, that is to say water that had been flowing through cracks in iron-brearing rock.

It's unlikely this would be the case for larger bodies of water as the iron would sink to the bottom pretty quick unless it was constantly agitated, but maybe you can think of some reason this wouldn't be the case?

(perhaps lower gravity combined with something pushing water back up to the surface like underwater geysers)

  • $\begingroup$ yeah, I've seen a fair few number of orange ponds while driving around Oklahoma with its red dirt (from heavy iron soil levels) $\endgroup$ May 25 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ How would boiling remove the iron? $\endgroup$ May 25 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ @KevinKostlan Boil it, capture the steam, cool the steam into a separate container, voila. That would be my interpretation, at least, but maybe Rugnir meant something different, somehow? $\endgroup$
    – Onyz
    May 25 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Onyz: Most "boil water" advisories mean just heating the water to kill pathogens. Actual distillation would of course work. $\endgroup$ May 25 at 18:22

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