Fact: General facts about Uranus
Uranus (pronounced YOO-ran-us) is the 7th planet from the sun, and the 3rd of the gas giants. Because it is very faint in the night time sky, it was not recognized as a planet until 1690 when British Astronomer John Flamsteed observed it 6 times by telescope. It is blueish in color and tilted over on its side, so that is spins sideways to its orbit
Facts About Uranus
Name Origin: Roman. Although not discovered by the ancient sky watchers, when Uranus was being described in the 18th century, there was a debate on what it should be called. Several names were suggested including Gergium Sidus, Herschel, and even Neptune! In the end it was German astronomer Johann Bode that reasoned it should be name Uranus after the father of the roman god Saturn.
Size: Average Diameter 51,000km, Mass of approximately 8.68 x 10^25 kg. Uranus is more than 4 times as wide as Earth, and could fit more than 63 Earths inside of it!
Gravity: 0.89g. Even though Uranus is larger than Earth, it has a low density and has a lower gravity. If you weight 150lbs on earth you would only weigh 133.5lbs on Uranus!
Temperature: The surface temperature of Uranus averages a very chilly -200 degrees C!
Days: Rotational period 17.2 hours. Although Uranus spins around its axis every 17 hours, because it is tilted over on its side the sun does not ‘rise and set’ on many parts of the surface of Uranus!
Orbit: Semi Major Axis: 2.87 Billion km, Orbital Period 30,687 days. Uranus is more than 19 times as far away from the Sun as the Earth is, and a single year on Uranus takes more than 84 years on Earth!
Atmosphere: Hydrogen, Helium. Deeper below the atmosphere, Uranus is mostly made of fluid “icy” materials including water, methane, and ammonia.
Visible Features: Uranus is almost uniformly blue in color, but it does the second most extensive rings after Saturn, as well as 27 small moons!
Fun facts: The methane present on Uranus is responsible for its bluish color. So far only one space probe has visited the planet; the Voyager 2 in 1985!
To learn more about Uranus visit:
- Uranus: The Sideways Planet