In Depth | Uranus – NASA Solar System Exploration - Deepstash

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In Depth | Uranus – NASA Solar System Exploration

solarsystem.nasa.gov

Uranus

The seventh planet from the Sun with the third largest diameter in our solar system, Uranus is very cold and windy. The ice giant is surrounded by 13 faint rings and 27 small moons as it rotates at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This unique tilt makes Uranus appear to spin ...

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Quick facts

Day: 17 hours 14 minutes

Year: 84 Earth years

Radius: 15,759.2 miles | 25,362 kilometers

Planet type: ice giant

Temperature: - -353.2 degrees Fahrenheit /-214 ° Celcius

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Size and distance

With a radius of 15,759.2 miles (25,362 kilometers), Uranus is 4 times wider than Earth. If Earth was the size of a nickel, Uranus would be about as big as a softball.

From an average distance of 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers), Uranus is 19.8 astronomical units away from the Sun...

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Orbit and rotation

One day on uranus takes about 17 hours (the time it takes for Uranus to rotate or spin once). And Uranus makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Uranian time) in about 84 Earth years (30,687 Earth days).

Uranus is the only planet whose equator is nearly at a right angle to its orbi...

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Structure

Uranus is one of two ice giants in the outer solar system (the other is Neptune). Most (80 percent or more) of the planet's mass is made up of a hot dense fluid of "icy" materials—water, methane and ammonia—above a small rocky core. Near the core, it heats up to 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (4,982 de...

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Formation

Uranus took shape when the rest of the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago, when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become this ice giant. 

Like its neighbor Neptune, Uranus likely formed closer to the Sun and moved to the outer solar system about 4 billion years ago, wh...

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Surface

As an ice giant, uranus doesn’t have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling fluids. 

While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Uranus, it wouldn’t be able to fly through its atmosphere unscathed either. The extreme pressures and temperatures would destroy a metal spacecraft.

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Atmosphere

Uranus atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium, with a small amount of methane and traces of water and ammonia. The methane gives Uranus its signature blue color.

While Voyager 2 saw only a few discrete clouds, a Great Dark Spot and a small dark spot during its flyby in 1986, more recent o...

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Magnetosphere

Uranus has an unusual, irregular shaped magnetosphere. Magnetic fields are typically in alignment with a planet's rotation, but Uranus' magnetic field is tipped over: the magnetic axis is tilted nearly 60 degrees from the planet's axis of rotation, and is also offset from the center of the planet...

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Rings

Uranus has two sets of rings. The inner system of nine rings consists mostly of narrow, dark grey rings. There are two outer rings: the innermost one is reddish like dusty rings elsewhere in the solar system, and the outer ring is blue like Saturn's E ring.

In order of increasing distance f...

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Moons

Uranus has 27 known moons. While most of the satellites orbiting other planets take their names from Greek or Roman mythology, Uranus' moons are unique in being named for characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

All of Uranus' inner moons appear to be roughly hal...

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Potential for life

Uranus enviroment is not conducive to life as we know it. 

The temperatures, pressures and materials that characterize this planet are most likely too extreme and volatile for organisms to adapt to.

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