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. Nearly a twin in size to Neptune, Uranus has more methane in its mainly hydrogen and helium atmosphere than Jupiter or Saturn. Methane gives Uranus its blue tint.
10 Need-to-Know Things About Uranus:
- If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel and Uranus would be about as big as a baseball.
- Uranus orbits our sun, a star. Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun at a distance of about 2.9 billion km (1.8 billion miles) or 19.19 AU.
- One day on Uranus takes about 17 hours (the time it takes for Uranus to rotate or spin once). Uranus makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Uranian time) in about 84 Earth years.
- Uranus is an ice giant. Most (80 percent or more) of the planet's mass is made up of a hot dense fluid of "icy" materials – water (H2O), methane (CH4). and ammonia (NH3) – above a small rocky core.
- Uranus has an atmosphere which is mostly made up of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He), with a small amount of methane (CH4).
- Uranus has 27 moons. Uranus' moons are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
- Uranus has faint rings. The inner rings are narrow and dark and the outer rings are brightly colored.
- Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Uranus.
- Uranus cannot support life as we know it.
- Like Venus, Uranus has a retrograde rotation (east to west). Unlike any of the other planets, Uranus rotates on its side, which means it spins horizontally.
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