Uranus is the third largest planet in the Solar System. It is a giant ball of gas and liquid and forms the farthest planet that can be seen without a telescope. Uranus is the seventh planet in our s olar system, in terms of its distance from the sun. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft which has been to Uranus, in the year 1986. Like Saturn, the planet also has rings on its surface. However, the rings are faint and dark, making them difficult to see. Uranus is tilted on its side in such a way, that its axis lies nearly in level with its path around the sun. It is the coldest planet in the solar system which absorbs more heat from the sun than it releases. This planet has been categorized as an ice giant, due to its composition which is different from the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. The only other planet falling in the ice giants’ category is Neptune. This suggests that Uranus and Neptune are similar in their composition. To know some more interesting and fun facts about Uranus, read below.
Equatorial Diameter: 25,559 ± 4 km
Polar Diameter: 24,973 ± 20 km
Density: 1.27 g/cm3
Volume: 6.833×1013 km3
Chemical Composition: Molecular hydrogen and helium
Revolution Time: 84 Earth years
Rotation Time: 17 hours, 14 minutes
Number Of Moons: 27
Discovered In: March 13, 1781
Named After: Greek god of the sky, Ouranos
Number Of Rings: 13
Distance From Earth: 2.57 billion km
State: Ice giant
Planetary Expeditions: Voyager 2
Interesting & Fun Facts About Uranus
- Sir William Herschel was the first person to discover Uranus, on March 13, 1781. However, he thought that he had discovered a new comet.
- The distance between Uranus and Sun is almost twice the distance from Sun to Saturn.
- Uranus has a pale blue color, which is caused by the methane in its atmosphere that filters out red light.
- Uranus orbits the Sun on its side. Its South Pole is pointed towards Earth. The angle of the tilt of its axis is 98 degrees.
- Like Saturn, Uranus also has rings. The rings are made of ice and small rock particles, which are so faint that they appear as black as charcoal.
- Uranus rotates from east to west, like Venus. This is opposite from the spin of Earth.
- Uranus has 21 moons. Five of these moons are large, while the rest are smaller.
- Uranus' moons orbit the planet just like a Giant Wheel in a fair. The satellites would go over and under the planet
- A year on Uranus is equivalent to 84 Earth years.
- A day on Uranus is shorter than a day on Earth, at about 17 hours long.
- Uranus is the only planet with a unique tilt of 98 degrees. Thus, its seasons are extreme. When the Sun rises at its north pole, it stays up for 42 Earth years and then when it sets, the North Pole is in darkness for the next 42 Earth years.
- The atmospheric composition of Uranus comprises of hydrogen, helium, and methane.
- The force of gravity at the surface of Uranus is about 90 percent of that at the surface of Earth. Thus, an object that weighs 100 pounds on Earth would weigh about 90 pounds on Uranus.
- As per mythology, Uranus was the lord of the skies and husband of Earth. He was also the King of the Gods, until his son Saturn overthrew him.
- Astrologers believe Uranus might have an ocean of water beneath its clouds. It has a large rocky core, and because of tremendous pressure, could possibly contain trillions of large diamonds.
- After, Saturn, Uranus is the second least dense planet in the solar system.
- It is also the only planet to have a Greek name, instead of a Roman (like other planets).
- Uranus has 13 rings.
- Some moons of Uranus orbit in the opposite direction of the planet.
- Titania is the largest moon of Uranus.
- Interestingly, most moons of Uranus are named after the characters from Shakespeare’s works, unlike the moons for other planets, which have either Greek or Roman names.
- Uranus is the only planet, which rotates on its side and scientists believe that the planet was knocked by a large, mostly earth-sized object, during its formation.
- Uranus does not have hot core, like other planets, which emits infrared radiation. It is believed that some event in the past has resulted in the core of the planet to cool down.