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Uranus: Overview
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Color image of Uranus with small moon in front of it.
Uranus' moon Ariel (white dot) and its shadow (black dot) were caught crossing the face of Uranus in this Hubble Space Telescope image.

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:

  1. 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.
    Color image of planet with faint rings. Links to larger image.
    Uranus: The Sideways Planet
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Uranus has an atmosphere which is mostly made up of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He), with a small amount of methane (CH4).
  6. Uranus has 27 moons. Uranus' moons are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
  7. Uranus has faint rings. The inner rings are narrow and dark and the outer rings are brightly colored.
  8. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Uranus.
  9. Uranus cannot support life as we know it.
  10. 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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Homework? We can help. Link to Uranus homework helper.
Just the Facts
Metric | English | Scientific Notation
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  2.8706582 x 109 km
Mean Radius:  2.5362 x 104 km
Volume:  6.83344 x 1013 km3
Mass:  8.6810 x 1025 kg
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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2014