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Uranus

Uranus - Rotating Model
Credit: Almond/NASA


Uranus is a Gas Giant planet, like Jupiter, which means it doesn't have a solid surface.


It is a blue-ish colour, made by the methane within the cloud-tops of its cold (around -200°C) atmosphere. When the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Uranus in 1986, it showed an almost featureless surface (see left image). When we look at Uranus under a different light, infra-red (right video) we start to see some bands of cold clouds and warmer spots.


Uranus has rings, like Saturn, but they are much thinner and far more difficult to see.

Uranus, taken by Voyager 2
Credit: NASA


Uranus was the first planet to be discovered in modern times, and was found by the English astronomer William Herschel back in 1781, but only one space-probe has passed by the planet, Voyager 2 in 1986.


Uranus has at least 27 moons, 22 of these are very small and most orbit close to Uranus. The other five (Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon) are larger and further out.


Planet Data Sheet show »« hide
Facts and FiguresMercuryVenus EarthMarsJupiter SaturnUranusNeptune
Orbital Distance (AU)10.380.72 1.01.525.2 9.4519.230.06
Radius (KM)2,4406,052 6,3783,39771,492 60,26825,55924,746
Mass (Earth Masses)20.0550.82 1.00.11318 95.214.517.1
Year Length
(Earth Days)
88225 365.2568711.9
Years
29.45
Years
84.0
Years
164.8
Years
Day Length
(Earth Days)
176117 1.01.030.41 0.430.750.67
Surface Gravity (g)30.380.91 1.00.382.34 0.930.921.12
Surface Temperature-200 to
400 °C
460 °C -80 to
50 °C
-150 to
20 °C
-110 °C -140 °C-190 °C-200 °C
Number of moons00 1263 602713
Notes: 1 1 AU (or Astronomical Unit) = 149,600,000 KM and is the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun
2 1 Earth Mass = 5,980,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 KG : 3 1 g = 9.8 m/s2