In around 1781, William Herschel was studying the stars located in the Gemini constellation when he witnessed an unusual, disk-like celestial object. Herschel got amazed and informed his comrades of his discovery. However, he was a bit surprised when he calculated the object’s course. After going through multiple facts and figures, he ultimately concluded that the object’s path was more circular. Several other astronomers and scientists came forth with similar conclusions, and that is how Uranus was discovered.
Herschel was asked to name the planet as he was the one who initially discovered it. His proposals were discarded because they were not up to the par. Furthermore, the name Uranus was put forward by a group of acclaimed scientists. It took numerous years for the scientific community to accept this name.
Following are ten fascinating facts regarding planet Uranus:
1) NASA‘s Voyager 2 visited Uranus in 1986:
Voyager 2 visited the icy, gaseous giant in 1986. The data that was accumulated with the help of Voyager 2 was used by multiple scientists all over the globe. The shuttle took thousands of images of Uranus, its moons and rings. According to multiple organisations, no future missions are scheduled for planet Uranus mainly because it cannot house humans.
2) Planet Uranus is blue in colour:
Uranus is mostly made up of water, methane, and ammonia liquids above a small solid centre. Moreover, its atmosphere consists of hydrogen, helium and methane. It is believed that methane makes Uranus appear blue.
3) Uranus takes approximately 84 Earth days to circle the Sun:
Uranus’ axis is at 98 degrees, which means it almost lies sideways as it circles the Sun. Hence, planet Uranus gets approximately 42 years of direct sunlight, followed by 42 years of darkness.
4) Planet Uranus takes seven years to pass through each constellation:
It takes planet Uranus around seven years to pass through each zodiac constellation, and a total of 84 years to make a full trip around the sun. Uranus’ orbit caught astronomers’ attention mainly because the planet itself left its predicted location and moved to a new spot. The change in Uranus’ course led to the discovery of Neptune in 1846.
5) Planet Uranus is made of three layers:
Planet Uranus consists of three main layers; a solid silicate/iron-nickel core in the centre, an icy veil in the middle and an external gaseous hydrogen/helium envelope.
6) A collision may have caused the tilt:
Scientists believe that a small planetoid may have collided with Uranus which forced its axis to change. Moreover, another explanation suggests that Uranus once had a massive moon, and the gravitational force caused Uranus to fall on its side. The moon could have been booted out by another planet.
7) Uranus is the coldest planet in our solar system:
The surface temperature on Uranus is around -224°C, making it the coldest of the remaining planets of our solar system. Its uppermost atmosphere is covered with a mist made of methane which hides the storms that take place in its cloud layers.
8) Planet Uranus has 27 moons:
Some of the moons are named after the characters created by Alexander Pope and William Shakespeare. The Oberon, Titania and Miranda; all of these are frozen worlds with dark surfaces.
9) Planet Uranus has thirteen rings:
Uranus’ rings are quite different from those found around Saturn. The bits that form Saturn’s rings are small as compared to Uranus. Planet Uranus’ rings include several icy bodies up to twenty meters in diameter. Moreover, Uranus’ rings are made up of ice, dust and debris.
10) Uranus takes a little over 17 hours to turn on its axis:
The icy, gaseous giant pivots in a reversed direction, opposite to the way Earth and majority of the planets turn. Hence, Uranus takes approximately 17 hours and 14 minutes to turn on its axis.
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