Facts about Uranus for Kids
Uranus is a really interesting planet named after the ancient Greek gods of heaven. Let’s look at some facts that will fascinate you.
Why the name Uranus ?
Heaven is far from earth and Uranus being the seventh planet is also far from the sun. This is why Uranus was named after the ancient Greek gods of heaven, Uranus. This god is said to have had two sons, Titans and Giants.
Being that it is the seventh planet from the sun, Uranus cannot be seen without telescope.
The Uranus bluish-green Atmosphere
The atmosphere found on the surface of the planet Uranus is mostly methane, hydrogen, and helium gases.
Methane gas absorbs red lights while scattering the blue light rays, producing a beautiful blue-green haze. Because of this, it is difficult to see the inside of the planet.
Uranus was not discovered in time with the other planets
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun yet it was discovered after all the other planets before it, that is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Uranus is the planet that came with the telescope.
It was seen after the invention of the telescope, so it was the first ever planet to be discovered through the telescope.
Uranus Day and Year
It is also fascinating to know that unlike the earth which rotates on its orbit while going round the sun, Uranus rolls like a barrel as it goes round the sun. This causes one of its poles to be completely dark when it is a quarter way round the sun.
Uranus rolls like a barrel because it is believed that when it was being formed, large objects banged against its surface.
Did you know that it takes Uranus 84 earth years to go round the sun once? This is because it is far away from the sun. So, each of its poles takes 42 earth years to be in light on the side that is directly facing the sun.
Uranus is 1782 million miles or 2869 kilometers from the sun.
It is unique compared to the other planets and moons in the solar system because its spins on its side.
It takes Uranus 17hours and 14minutes to rotate on its axis and so its day is slightly shorter than one earth day.
What would your weight be in Uranus ?
If you are thinking of going to this planet, brace yourself for a very long journey. It actually takes you several years to fly a rocket to Uranus!
If you get there, you will weigh much less than your actual weight here on earth. This is because Uranus force of gravity is not as strong as the one on earth. For instance, if you weighed 32 kg (70 pounds) on planet earth, you would weigh 28kg (62 pounds) in Uranus.
Uranus too is a gas Giant
Four planets on the solar system are classified as giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Did you notice that these are the planets on the outer parts of the solar system?
They are entirely composed of gases.
Although Uranus is the smallest of the four big planets, it is amazing to know that its size is several times that of the earth.
Uranus has a diameter of 29297 miles (47,150 kilometers) which is quite large compared to the earth’s diameter which is below 8000 miles (12,760 Kilometers).
The Ice Planet
Uranus is a very cold, in fact the coldest, planet hence it is commonly called the “ice planet’. Scientists believe that Uranus is also composed of rocks and ice, with a huge rock forming its core.
Its temperatures go up to -216oC which is actually worse than winter.
Because its surface cannot be seen clearly owing to the blue-green haze, the surface of this planet is thought to have a big ocean.
While the planet itself is extremely cold, the water in its ocean is as hot as 2760oC (5000 degrees Fahrenheit). This is far much hotter than the hottest temperature the earth has ever experienced on its surface.
Uranus too has rings just like the planet Saturn.
However, the rings in Uranus do not stretch out like those on Saturn.
These rings were formed by a combination of large rocks and black particles.
The first nine rings were observed by scientist in 1977 using a giant telescope when Uranus passed in front of a star. The other four faint rings were observed later on to make a total of 13 rings on Uranus.
Unlike earth which has just one moon, Uranus has 27 moons.
Five of the moons found on this planet are quite large while the rest are rather small. The largest of these moons is known as Titania and the second largest Oberon.
The other three are Umberiel, Ariel, and Miranda. Do you know where Uranu’s moons derive their names from ?
From the famous writer Shakespeare’s book ‘MID SUMMER NIGHT DREAM. Interesting, isn’t it?