Did you know that Uranus is actually the first planet discovered with a telescope? Or that it’s a planet with the most unique rotation in our Solar System? Find out more facts about Uranus, one of the most intriguing celestial bodies!
1. Uranus has rings
Kicking off this list of facts about Uranus is the fact it has rings. When it comes to rings, Saturn is the most known planet, but Saturn is not the only one. Uranus has them too, it was the second planet where scientists observed rings. There are a few other planets with rings in our Solar System.
2. It is the coldest planet in our Solar System
While not the furthest planet in our Solar System it is the planet with the coldest atmosphere with the minimum temperatures of −371 °F / −224 °C. It’s cold out there, really, really, cold.
3. It rotates clockwise and on it rotates sideways
Uranus has a unique rotation. Like Venus, it rotates clockwise, while other planets and astronomical objects in our solar system rotate anticlockwise. But what makes Uranus really unique is that the planet is tilted to its side so it rotates sideways.
4. Uranus has poles where other planets have their equator
This is the coolest out of all facts about Uranus. If you can’t quite imagine the sideways rotation, this piece of information will probably help. Planets rotate around their axis. If you look at the planet Earth, its axis would be a line piercing through the planet and connecting the North and the South pole.
When it comes to other planets, and not Uranus, most have their poles and axis pointed in roughly the same direction as Earth.
Uranus on the other hand has poles where you would see the equator with other planets and its equator is where other planets have their poles.
5. It is the first planet in our Solar System that was discovered with a telescope
Uranus is the 7th planet from the Sun. It is the first planet from the Sun that we can’t observe without a telescope.
Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus on 13th March 1781. He named the planet Georgium Sidius, a name that stuck until 1850.
6. It has many moons
Uranus has 27 known moons, 5 of which are major moons. The largest moon is Titania and it’s the 8th largest moon in our Solar System.
7. Uranus is the only planet in our Solar System with a name from Greek mythology
All other planets in our Solar System, besides Earth, are named after gods from Roman mythology. Uranus got its name after the Greek god of the sky.
8. It is an ice giant
Uranus and Neptune are ice giants. Ice giants are planets that are mainly composed of elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium.
Even though the name might suggest a solid icy surface, this is not the case. There are gasses and fluids on the surface.
9. A day lasts 17 hours and 14 minutes and a one Uranus year 84 Earth years
It takes only about 17 hours for Uranus to complete one rotation around its axis and a long 84 years to orbit the sun.
10. Its poles stay in full sunlight for 42 years
As the poles of this planet are facing the sun (and opposite of the sun), and the rotation is sideways, each pole experiences 42 years of continuous sunlight, followed by 42 years of darkness.