Uranus

Kid's illustration of Uranus and its rings.
Uranus was knocked on its side a long, long time ago.

The Tilted Planet

Uranus is the seventh planet from our sun. It is the third largest planet in our solar system.

Uranus is named for a Roman god who was the father of the Titans.

URANUS CHALLENGE
Imagine if you landed on one
of Uranus' icy moons. Draw
a picture of what you would
see in the sky.
Color image of Uranus.

WHAT'S IT LIKE ON URANUS?
Uranus is very cold, windy and, like most of the other planets, poisonous to humans. It is a gas planet like Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. There is nothing to land on. The air -- atmosphere -- gets thicker and thicker until it is squished into liquid. That is called pressure.

You feel pressure in your ears when you dive to the bottom of a swimming pool. The same thing happens on Uranus, but it's much stronger. A person or spacecraft diving through Uranus' clouds would be crushed.

Seasons on Uranus last more than 20 years because the planet is tilted on its side. Scientists think it may have been whacked by a planet-sized object a long time ago.

Uranus is extremely cold at the cloud tops. But deeper down there is a layer of "superheated" water, ammonia and methane. Scientists think methane shoots to the surface in huge bubbles and becomes bright clouds. The methane also absorbs red light and reflects the blue-green colors we see when we look at Uranus through a telescope.

Down near the core of Uranus, it heats up to 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (4,982 degrees Celsius).

Uranus is so far away it is difficult to study. Scientists use math to predict what the planet is like. Uranus' 11 rings weren't discovered until 1977. And several of Uranus' 27 known moons were discovered as recently as 2003. There may be more undiscovered moons out there.


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