The one you have all been waiting for everyone, let the sniggering commence!
Here’s a combined picture of Uranus:
The picture above is from the Hubble telescope which show the aurorae on the planet as well as the rings. Who knew that Uranus had a ring?
Scientist pronounce the name of this planet as “You’re-an-us”, everyone else though as “Your, anus”. It has been the butt of many a joke. You may be pleased to know, Uranus has never been probed. Just a fly-by from Voyager 2.
Part 7 – Uranus
To give an idea of the size, you can see here that Uranus is our third largest planet after Jupiter and Saturn. You can still fit 63 planet Earths into it though.
I suppose we need to know who is to blame for giving this magnificent planet such an *unfortunate* name. The planet Uranus was discovered by William Herschel on March 13, 1781. However, he did not name the planet Uranus, he called it “the Georgium Sidus” (the Georgian Planet) in honour of King George III of England. The name “Uranus” was first proposed by German astronomer Johann Elert Bode in order for it to be in conformity with the other planetary names – which are from classical mythology. Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, the earliest supreme god.
Uranus is the only giant planet whose equator is nearly at right angles to its orbit. A collision with an Earth-sized object may explain the unique tilt. Due to its tilt, which at 98 degress is the largest tilt of all our planets. For this reason it is also know as the “Sideways Planet”. Nearly a twin in size to Neptune, Uranus has more methane (about 3%) in its mainly hydrogen and helium atmosphere than Jupiter or Saturn. Methane gives Uranus its blue tint. So I suppose it is fair to say Uranus smells.
Distance from the Sun: About 1.8 billion miles, about 19 times further than the Earth.
Year: About 84 Earth years.
Day: About 17 Earth hours.
Diameter: About 31,500 miles.
Effective temperature: -357 degrees Fahrenheit.
Atmosphere: Hydrogen, helium, methane.
The ice giant is surrounded by 13 faint rings and 5 large moons with 22 smaller moons,
From an average distance of 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers), Uranus is 19.8 astronomical units (AU) away from the sun. One AU, is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. From this distance, it takes sunlight 2 hours and 40 minutes to travel from the Sun to Uranus.
Voyager 2 (link here to an excellent article from Kipper: (https://going-postal.com/2017/08/per-aspera-ad-astra/) is the only mission that has come close to Uranus, this was in January 1986. The spacecraft discovered 10 new moons, two new rings, and a strangely tilted magnetic field stronger than that of Saturn and imaged the 5 larger moons. The largest of these five, Titania, is 1,578 km in diameter and the eigth largest moon in the Solar System, and about one-twentieth the mass of our Moon. Uranus’ moons are unique in being named for characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope rather than greek mythology (thanks to John Herschel, son of William), examples are Cordelia, Ophelia, Cressida, Desdemona and Puck.
Where to find it:
You can see Uranus without the aid of a telescope in some months, but was the first planet to be found with the aid of one. At the time of wrting it is currently here:
Link is here: http://earthsky.org/?p=203059
Remember, that planets (wandering stars) move around, so check the above link regularly to see where planets and stars can currently be seen.
© Phil the test manager 2018