Planet Uranus Fun Facts
Hardly one of the more celebrated planets in our solar system, one must wonder, are there any Planet Uranus fun facts? Uranus is an exciting planet actually. Being the seventh planet from the sun, Uranus has only been seen once, which was in 1986 by the spacecraft Voyager 2. Even so, there's still a lot scientists know.
Planet Uranus is the farthest planet from Earth that you can see with a telescope and the farthest planet that you can see with the naked eye in perfect conditions (dark sky, known location at any time of the Earth year). Composed of liquid and gas, the planet is completely dark on the surface. Since most of the atmosphere is methane gas, Uranus exhibits a light blue hue. The same methane gas doesn't let red light enter Uranus' sky.
Uranus spins from east to west, which is opposite of how the Earth spins. The only other planet to spin like Uranus is Venus.
One Uranus year is about equal to 84 of our years. While the amount of time for a year is longer that Earth's, one day on the planet is only 17 Earth hours. Gravity is nearly the same as Earth, even thought the planet is so far away from our planet. Since the pull is around 90% of Earth's pull, something weighing 200 pounds would only weight 180 pounds on Uranus.
The atmosphere mainly consists of hydrogen, methane and helium. Uranus has 27 moons, the majority of which are composed from water and ice, and not rock, as previously believed. The names of the moons were chosen from the literature of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
The many rings of Uranus are about two to three miles wide each. They are significantly younger than the planet itself, which suggest that the rings were born from the planet instead of with the planet.
Planet Uranus Fun Facts
Uranus has two poles, like Earth, but it's hard to call them north and south because Uranus spins on its side. Which pole goes where is anyone's guess, but astronomers and scientists believe that a very large object, possibly the size of Earth, slammed into Uranus and knocked a shift in the axis. The designated South Pole aims at Earth.
When first discovered in 1781, astronomers of the time believed Uranus to be a comet. Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus, but was ready to tout the planet as a brand new comet. When he realized that it was a planet, he was allowed to name it and choose George's Star after the current King of England at the time, King George III. When Herschel died, astronomers changed the name to Uranus because the previous planet discovered was Saturn and since Uranus was his father, the next planet should be named so.
Did You Know?
A rising sun keeps one side of Uranus in daylight for 42 years and when the Sun sets, the darkness lasts for 42 years.
One of the moons of Uranus called Umbriel contains a ring named Florescent Cheerio. This ring is believed to be a chunk of rock from the moon caught in its orbit.
Since Uranus has a huge rocky middle and large amounts of pressure within the planet, it's possible that the inside of the planet houses millions and trillions of good-sized diamonds. Despite having vast amounts of internal pressure, the heat generated is very low. This makes Uranus the coldest planet in the Solar System, even thought Neptune is further away from the Sun. Uranus just gives off less heat than it takes, which is an unusual Planet Uranus fun fact.