We all love to daydream about what’s “out there” in space. That, combined with the excitement of learning new things about space, stars, planets, and the like means that facts like these will never get old.
6. It has thirteen rings.
Uranus has rings, but they’re dark and likely comprised of ice and radiation-processed organic material.
They’re also only around 600 million years old (that’s young, all things considered).
Saturn’s rings are brighter and showier but don’t count these out.
5. Its moons are named after characters from literature.
Uranus has 27 known moons, and each is named for William Shakespeare or Alexander Pope characters.
Oberon and Titania are the largest, but we’ve got plenty of others, like Juliet, Rosalind, and Bianca.
4. It rotates in a unique way.
Most planets rotate upright, spinning like tops as they orbit the sun.
Uranus, though, rolls like a ball – it spins at about a 98-degree tilt that makes a “day” there around 42 years on earth. It also rotates from east to west, the opposite of Earth.
Scientists believe the odd tilt could result from a major collision early in its history.
3. Its name is unconventional.
Uranus is the only planet (aside from Earth, which was named much later) not named for a Roman god – and that’s because when the Romans didn’t have the ability to see all the way to Uranus.
When it was discovered, scientists used the Latinized version of Saturn’s father, Ouranos – Uranus- much to the delight of young children everywhere.
2. It’s one of only two ice giants.
Uranus and Neptune are the only planets in our solar systems formed from water, methane, and ammonia as opposed to hydrogen and helium (Jupiter and Saturn) or silicates and irons (Earth).
Voyager learned what molecules formed Uranus on its flyby, and scientists dubbed the two “ice giants.”
1. It rains diamonds bigger than grizzly bears.
The switch in Uranus’s atmosphere from really cold to really hot, combined with a ton of pressure closer to the planet, creates the perfect condition for raining diamonds.
The stones are millions of carats apiece – larger than a grizzly bear – that drop into large pressurized “oceans.”
There you have it – I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry for more!