Uranus is the seventh sun-born planet and the first scientists to discover it. While Planet Uranus is visible to the naked eye because of the dimness of the planet and the slow orbit, it was long mistaken as a star. The planet is also remarkable for its dramatic tilt, which makes its axis point almost directly to the sun.
Here are 10 interesting facts about planet Uranus.
- On Planet Uranus (that is, the time it takes for the earth to complete a single oration on its axis) a sidereal day is only around 17 hours long. But Uranus’ tilt is so pronounced that generally one pole or the other is pointing towards the Sun. That means a day at Uranus’ north pole lasts half a Uranian year — 84 Earth years.
And if you could stand on Uranus’ north pole, you’d see the Sunrise in the sky for 42 years, and turn back. The Sun will eventually dip below the horizon by the end of this long, drawn-out “summer.” This would be followed by 42 year of obscurity, otherwise known as a single “winter” season on Uranus.
2. Planet Uranus was officially discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1781. It is too dark for the ancients to have seen. At first, Herschel assumed it was a comet, but it was confirmed as a planet many years later. Herschel sought to have his discovery named “Georgian Sidus” after King George III. Astronomer Johann Bode proposed the name Uranus. The name originates from Ouranos, the ancient Greek god.
3. Planet Uranus currently has 13 identified rings. All but two Uranians are extremely small-only a few kilometers long. The rings are believed to be relatively young. The matter in the rings is believed to be pieces of a moon or planets separated by high-speed collisions with an object like a comet or an asteroid.
4. The two ice giants found in the outer solar system are Uranus and Neptune. Around 80 percent of Planet Uranus’ mass consists of thick, hot fluid of “cold” materials like water, methane, and ammonia. These are above a rocky core, with temperatures of 9,000 degrees F/4,892 degrees C near the core.