Universe Guide

Uranus Info, Facts, Rings and Moons

Location of Uranus


Uranus is located twice as far from the Sun as the Saturn which is the next planet in to the Sun. Uranus is a gas giant with a possible rocky core but surrounding core is an extremely hostile gassy atmosphere, one in which it would be a struggle to get anything into to investigate.

Uranus Flyby by Voyager

The first time Uranus was visited by a space probe was in 1986 by the Voyager 2 space probe which flew past on its way out of the Solar System. We've not gone back since. The New Horizons probe has travelled out further than Uranus but it didn't fly past Uranus.

Uranus' Planetary Rings

Whilst all the gas giants have a ring, Saturn has the most prominent rings followed by Uranus. It was not until 1977 that the rings were discovered when astronomers were observing the planet crossing the path of a star. The astronomers noticed the star blinked before Uranus has blocked the star, thus they realised the blinking was caused by the planet having rings.

Rotation of Uranus

Uranus is unique amongst all the planets in the solar system in that it rotates on its side. This is probably caused by a collision with another body that knocked it on its side. Whereas on Earth, the planet rotates east to west, the planet rotates south to north in comparison to our own planet.

Discovery of Uranus

The planet was the first to be discovered since ancient times, everyone believed that the solar system stopped at Saturn. The planet was discovered by Sir William Herschel, a German Born Astronomer who moved to United Kingdom and discovered Uranus.

The planet was discovered on March 13th, 1781 by Herschel using a telescope because it was far it couldn't easily be spotted by the naked eye which the other planets had been discovered. Herschel had wanted to called it George's Star but that got overruled and became Uranus.

The choice of Uranus was because Saturn was the father of Jupiter and so to follow on, Uranus is the father of the Greek God Saturn. The planets name became the inspiration for the newly discovered element Uranium.

The moons of Uranus are named after characters from Shakespeare or from Rape of the Lock. The policy of naming moons after mythological characters came too late for the moons and so moons of Uranus are different from all others.

Uranus Smell

Should you ever get to visit Uranus, you should know that the atmosphere smells of rotten eggs. The upper atmosphere of the planet contains large amounts of hydrogen sulfide, the chemical that gives eggs their rotten smell.

Uranus is too far away for anyone to go there and stiff the atmosphere. Uranus's atmosphere was calculated by scientists using the Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrometer (NIFS), an instrument on the 26 foot (8 meter) Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. Space

Uranus Facts

List of Moons in orbit around Uranus

MoonDiscoveredOrbit Circumference
Ariel24 October 1851
Belinda13 January 1986
Bianca23 January 1986
Caliban6 September 1997
Cordelia20 January 1986
Cressida9 January 1986
Cupid25 August 2003
Desdemona13 January 1986
Ferdinand13 August 2001
Francisco13 August 2001
Juliet3 January 1986
Mab25 August 2003
Margaret29 August 2003
Miranda16 February 1948
Perdita18 May 1999 (verified in Voyager 2 images dating back to January 18, 1986)
Prospero18 July 1999
Setebos18 July 1999
Stephano18 July 1999
Sycorax6 September 1997
Trinculo13 August 2001

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