We bet you never knew that Uranus was the first planet to be discovered by telescope! This gorgeous looking planet is the seventh planet from the Sun in our Solar System, as well as one of the largest by mass. It’s always heaps of fun learning about planets, and understanding what we know about the planets we encounter in our Solar System.
When you look at the planets, it’s clear that Uranus shares some similarities with Neptune, especially in terms of composition. Both are blue planets, and both have been classed as ice giants by scientists. In spite of this, we still don’t know as much as we should about Uranus, so we thought it was important to check out these useful facts about the planet.
It’s got a lot of moons
Many of the planets in the Solar System have a lot of moons – Jupiter, for instance, has 63 moons! That just seems excessive! Uranus pales in comparison with a paltry 27, though this is still a lot. And, one of the things we dig the most about the moons of Uranus is that they are all named after characters from literature. Specifically, each moon is named after a character from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
Its rotation is unique
Another thing we find interesting about Uranus is the way its planetary rotation differs from the other planets around it. The vast majority of planets that orbit the Sun do so upright, and they spin like tops. Some of them spin fast, and others spin slowly, but they always spin the same way… except Uranus! Uranus actually moves differently, rotating like a ball being rolled along the ground. It’s unclear precisely what caused this rotation to occur, though some speculate that planets collided millions of years ago.
It rains diamonds
The complexities of the climate on Uranus is such that the upper atmosphere is cold. Like, really cold. But, the deeper you get, the hotter it becomes – and it gets hot real fast. This, coupled with high pressure has led to the phenomenon of diamond rain. We are talking literal diamond rain here. And these diamonds are millions of carats, and reach a size larger than grizzly bears. Imagine being able to visit Uranus and bring one of those bad boys home with you!
We have been there before
You might think that the only planet in the Solar System we’ve visited other than Earth is Mars. And it’s true that we do go to Mars quite a bit, and that’s because its atmosphere is similar to our own. But, we have been to other places as well, one of them being Uranus. The one and only visit to Uranus to date was made by NASA’s Voyager 2, and happened in 1986. There are plans to go back as well, but who knows how long it will be before that happens.
Uranus is a fascinating planet, and one we know too little about. However, we are starting to learn more about it, and hopefully one day we will get to visit again, and then we can learn even more still. Uranus has a lot of unique features and things that make it one of the most exciting planets in the Solar System to study.