Sunday, April 18, 2010

Facts About Uranus

The Uranus was discovered on the 13th of March 1781, by Sir William Herschel and was named after a Greek God. It is visible to naked eyes, but interestingly, was discovered after the invention of the telescope. Internally the planet is made up of ices of ammonia, water and methane. The Uranus shares the name "ice-giant" with Neptune and is the coldest planet of our Solar System with -224 oC as the minimum temperature.

The atmosphere of Uranus is composed of 83% hydrogen, 15% helium, 2% methane and small amounts of acetylene and other hydrocarbons. Methane in the upper atmosphere absorbs red light, giving Uranus its blue-green color. The atmosphere is arranged into clouds running at constant latitudes, similar to the orientation of the more vivid latitudinal bands seen on Jupiter and Saturn. Winds at mid-latitudes on Uranus blow in the direction of the planet's rotation. These winds blow at velocities of 40 to 160 meters per second (90 to 360 miles per hour). Radio science experiments found winds of about 100 meters per second blowing in the opposite direction at the equator.

Uranus is very odd. Unlike all the other planets and most of the moons in our Solar System Uranus spins on its side. It is believed that long ago a very large object smashed into this planet. The crash was so powerful that it completely changed the direction of Uranus' spin. Uranus may have an ocean of water beneath its clouds. It has a large rocky core, and because of the tremendous pressure could possibly contain trillions of large diamonds. Uranus is almost identical to the planet Neptune.

Uranus has 27 moons. Five of these moons are large, and the rest are smaller. Their names are: Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Belinda, Puck, Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, Caliban, Sycorax, Prospero, Setebos, Stephano, and 1986U10.

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