Astronomy Closer Look: Uranus

Discussion in 'Astronomy' started by JcMinJapan, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Uranus is the 7th planet from Sun and is 2,870,990,000 km from it.

    Uranus' day is .72 Earth days and one year is equal to 84.01 Earth years.

    It has 20 satellites (moons) plus some rings: They are all named after characters from Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. They are: Ariel, Belinda, Bianca, Caliban, Cressida, Cordelia, Desdemona, Juliet, Miranda, Oberon, Ophelia, Portia, Prospero, Puck, Rosalind, Setebos, Stephano, Sycorax, Titania and Umbriel.

    It is the 3rd largest planet with a diameter of 51,800 km and a mass of 8.686e25 kg

    The atmosphere of Uranus is composed of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The upper atmosphere is so cold that the methane condenses, forming a thin cloud layer, giving the planet its blue-green colour, since methane absorbs red light, and reflects blue.

    Cool Facts:

    The poles are very strange for this solar systems, as they actually point towards the Sun. This is due to the magnetic field being tilted 60 degrees from the axis of rotation.

    Like Venus, Uranus spins from east to west, which is opposite from the spin of Earth.

    Uranus has rings that are composed of fine dust, rocks, and ice boulders. They were not even discovered until Voyager 2 found them in 1986. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Uranus.

    It was first discovered in 1781 by Sir William Herschell. He acutally thought that it was a comet. He originally named it after the King George III. Many opposed this and some 50 years later, it was renamed Uranus. Uranus is the ancient Greek god of the Heavens. He was the son and mate of Gaia the father of Cronus (Saturn) and of the Cyclopes and Titans.

    Like Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus is classified as a 'Gas Giant' since it has no solid surface, and is equal in size to 52 Earths.

    When viewed from Earth, it appears to rotate on its side! It is thought this was caused by a collision with another celestial body.

    Uranus has a very strong magnetic field and the ring system is made up of 11 dark rings that have varying sized of particles. The satellites or moons are withing the rings and they actually create gaps between the rings.

    The winds on Uranus blow mainly to the east and can reach speeds up to 600 km per hour.

    For very detailed information and great photos of Uranus visit NASA