Check out our cool range of planet facts for kids. Enjoy some amazing trivia and have fun learning about the planets found in our Solar System. Venus Facts for Kids Venus is a fascinating planet that is similar in size to Earth but very different in regards to atmosphere and surface conditions. Its thick clouds lock in the heat while the surface rages with active volcanoes.
Moons of Neptune – Names & Composition of Neptunes Moons
Moons of NeptuneThere are 13 moons discovered to orbit around the 8th planet of the solar system, Neptune. The first, and the largest, moon, Triton, to be discovered was found just 17 days after the planet itself was discovered. After Triton’s discovery, it took another century for astronomers to find the second moon of Neptune. The moons of Neptune are classified as Regular Moons and Irregular Moons. Regular moons are closer to the planet, some even closer than Neptune’s planetary rings. Irregular moons orbit farther from Neptune. The regular moons consist of Despina, Galatea, Larissa, Naiad, Proteus and Thalassa. Naiad and Thalassa are the two regular moons closest to the planet and orbits between two of Neptune’s planetary rings. Despina is believed by astronomers to be a shepherd moon; small moons that orbit just outside the edge of planetary rings. Galatea is the fourth moon closest to Neptune and has a surface that displays no geological changes. It is believed that Galatea is a piece of one of Neptune’s ancient satellites. Galatea has been discovered to slowly move towards the surface of Neptune, which indicates that it will either crash with Neptune, or break up into planetary rings. Larissa and Proteus are the two largest of Neptune’s regular moons. Larissa has an estimated diameter of 200 km while Proteus is estimated to be around 150-250 km. The irregular moons of Neptune consist of Halimede, Laomedia, Nereid, Neso, Psamanthe, Sao and Triton. Triton is the largest moon with a 2,700 km diameter and is larger than the dwarf planets of the solar system Pluto and Eris. It has such a great mass that it accounts for 99.5% of the mass to orbit Neptune, moons and rings combined. Scientists believe that there may be liquid water inside Triton’s surface that they refer to as “ocean”. Moons of Neptune
Top 10 Earthlike Facts About Mars
23 SharesEarth and Marshave a lot in common. They have similar terrain, although Mars lacks the considerable amounts of water, oxygen, and atmospheric pressure required to support life as we know it. Compared to our planet, Mars also has less mass and a smaller size—a bit over half the size of Earth or two times the size of the Moon. Although we might consider Mars a wasteland, its Earthllike properties make it more comparable to Earth than we think. These interesting similarities are the reason why many scientists believe that we could one day colonize the “Red Planet.” Featured image credit: sciencing.com 10 Mars Has Four Seasons Photo credit: universetoday.comLike Earth, Mars has four seasons. Unlike Earth, where each season lasts for three months, the length of Mars’s seasons depends on the hemisphere. To be clear, a Martian year has 668.59 sols (Martian solar days), which is equal to about 687 Earth days and is almost twice as long as an Earth year. In the Red Planet’s northern hemisphere, spring lasts for seven Earth months, summer is six Earth months, fall is 5.3 Earth months, and winter is a little over four Earth months. The Martian summer in the northern hemisphere is also extremely cold. Often, the temperature will not exceed -20 degrees Celsius (-4 °F). Things are a bit hotter in the southern hemisphere where temperatures can be up to 30 degrees Celsius (54 °F) warmer in the equivalent season. The sharp contrast between these temperatures is why Mars is sometimes covered in huge dust storms. 9 Mars Has Its Own Aurora The colorful aurora lightsare not exclusively an Earthly thing. An aurora can appear on any planet, provided the conditions are just right. Mars has one, too. Although we see colorful lights over here, a human on Mars will not see anything because the Martian aurora gives off ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye. However, researchers were able to observe this light with a special device attached to the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution missioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. Here on Earth, aurorasare caused by charged electron particles colliding with the atmosphere. On Mars, they are caused by the proton-containing solar wind colliding with the cloud of hydrogen surrounding Mars. We cannot experience the Mars-like aurora on Earth. Our stronger magnetic field diverts the solar wind away from our planet to a greater degree than what happens on the Red Planet. However, scientists believe that Venus and Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) also experience a Mars-like aurora because they lack their own magnetic fields, just like Mars.
Moons of Saturn – Saturn Moon Names, Features & Size
Moons of SaturnThere are 62 moons orbiting Saturn. The moons of Saturn vary not only in size but also in composition and shape. The largest of the moons of Saturn is the aptly named Titan, more than 5,000 km across and is bigger than Mercury. There are 7 major moons of Saturn and the rest are grouped based on the mythology from which it is taken. Most of the minor moons of Saturn are less than 1 km across and are icy celestial bodies that closely resemble planetary rings. Major Moons of Saturn Titan – The largest of Saturn’s numerous natural satellites measuring 5,150 km across. The surface of Titan is mostly rocky materials and ice and its atmosphere is mostly composed of nitrogen, which could create a climate similar to that of ancient Earth. It is believed that Titan’s environment can nurture extraterrestrial microorganisms. Rhea – Named after the mother of the Olympian gods in Greek Mythology. It is the second largest moon of Saturn measuring 1,530 km across and is the 9th largest natural satellite in the solar system Iapetus – With a diameter of 1,470 km, it is the 3rd largest moon of Saturn. It was discovered by Giovanni Cassini in 1671. It has a distinct feature of having a bright and dark hemisphere. Dione – The 4th largest moon of Saturn named after a vague character in Greek Mythology. It measures 1,122 km in diameter and is the 15th largest moon in the solar System. Despite its size, its mass exceeds all the moons smaller than itself combined. Thetys – Discovered by Giovanni Cassini in 1684, this moon named after a titan in the Greek Mythology has a 1,070 km diameter. Like Dione and Rhea, the surface of Thetys is mostly icy. Enceladus – Discovered by William Herschel in 1789, it has a diameter of 500 kilometers. It has a very reflective surface and it reflects most of the sunlight that hits its surface. Mimas – Also discovered by William Herschel in 1789. It has a 400 km diameter and has low density that led scientists to believe it is mostly made of ice with very little percentage of rocks. Moons of Saturn
15 Blissfully Cool Facts About Ice
In many ways, life on Earth as we know it depends on ice. It provides most of the world’s fresh water supply, keeps global sea levels from rising disastrously and gives us vital data about past and future climate. Here are a few more intriguing facts about ice, both on our planet and beyond. 1. THE CRYOSPHERE IS WHAT WE CALL ICE ON EARTH.Later we’ll talk about ice on other planets. But if we want to talk about ice on Earth, that’s the cryosphere—the NOAA breaks it down as the “frozen water part of the Earth system.” Cryo comes from the Greek for cold, “kryos.” It includes not only all types of frozen water, but permafrost, which is soil that has existed below freezing for extended periods of time, but doesn’t necessarily have any water. 2. WATER IS USUALLY MORE DENSE THAN ICE.Ice and liquid water may be made of the same stuff, but those molecules arrange themselves in different ways depending on whether they’re in a liquid or solid state. In liquid water, molecules are able to fill in gaps and pack themselves in more closely than in the spread out and ordered crystalline structure of ice, which makes ice less dense and therefore able to float on water. At least that’s what usually happens. Heavy water ice (where the hydrogen atoms have a proton and a neutron, as opposed to just the proton in normal hydrogen) does sink. That may happen because the water molecules themselves become heavier thanks to the heavier hydrogen atoms, and the hydrogens form stronger bonds. 3. THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT NAMES FOR ICE.Sea ice alone comes in myriad varieties, and Arcticand Antarcticsea ice have their own distinct vocabularies. Brash, frazil, nilas, and pancake ice are a few of the varieties found in both. If you’re ever navigating near the poles, you’d better be able to distinguish an iceberg from an icefoot, a bummock from a hummock, and a floe from a floeberg. But if you think that’s a lot to remember, the Inupiaq of Alaska have 100 names for ice—which makes sense for a people whose survival requires expert knowledge of the characteristics and behavior of frozen water in all its variations. Of course, linguistically, it’s not quite that simple; their language is polysynthetic, meaning that words are formed by combining roots and endings to form countless words. Moreover, some words do double duty; a mapsa, for instance, is both an overhanging ledge of snow and a human spleen, which “overhangs” other organs, as far as Inupiaq see it. Nevertheless, that’s a lot of nuance for a substance we usually refer to with a single term. 4. ICE STORMS HAPPEN WHEN SNOW PASSES THROUGH WARM AND COLD LAYERS IN THE ATMOSPHERE.
Solar System Moon Facts
Check out our amazing space and astronomy facts for kids. Learn about different space objects and enjoy a range of cool trivia. Solar System Moon Facts Enjoy a range of interesting solar system moon facts. Learn about the variety of moons that orbit around planets such as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. What makes moons like Titan, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Triton, Charon, Phobos and Deimos unique? Read on and find out!
Planet Neptune: Facts About Its Orbit, Moons & Rings
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It was the first planet to get its existence predicted by mathematical calculationsbefore it was actually seen through a telescope on Sept. 23, 1846. Irregularities in the orbit of Uranusled French astronomer Alexis Bouvard to suggest that the gravitational pull from another celestial body might be responsible. German astronomer Johann Galle then relied on subsequent calculations to help spot Neptune via telescope. Previously, astronomer Galileo Galilei sketched the planet, but he mistook it for a star due to its slow motion. In accordance with all the other planets seen in the sky, this new world was given a name from Greek and Roman mythology — Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. Only one mission has flown by Neptune – Voyager 2 in 1989 – meaning that astronomers have done most studies using ground-based telescopes. Today, there are still many mysteriesabout the cool, blue planet, such as why its winds are so speedy and why its magnetic field is offset. While Neptune is of interest because it is in our own solar system, astronomers are also interested in learning more about the planet to assist with exoplanet studies. Specifically, some astronomers are interested in learning about the habitability of worlds that are somewhat bigger than Earth. Those that are closer to Earth's size are called "super-Earths", while those that are closer to Neptune's size are "mini-Neptunes." However, there is some debate about those terms given that today's telescope technology does not make it possible to view how much atmosphere is on those planet types, making it difficult to make a distinction. Like Earth, Neptune has a rocky core, but it has a much thicker atmosphere that prohibits the existence of life as we know it. Astronomers are still trying to figure out at what point a planet is so large that it may pick up a lot of gas in the area, making it difficult or impossible for life to exist. Physical characteristicsNeptune's cloud coverhas an especially vivid blue tint that is partly due to an as-yet-unidentified compound and the result of the absorption of red light by methane in the planets mostly hydrogen-helium atmosphere. Photos of Neptune reveal a blue planet, and it is often dubbed an ice giant, since it possesses a thick, slushy fluid mix of water, ammonia and methane ices under its atmosphere and is roughly 17 times Earth's mass and nearly 58 times its volume, according to a NASA fact sheet. Neptune's rocky core alone is thought to be roughly equal to Earth's mass, NASA says. Despite its great distance from the sun, which means it gets little sunlight to help warm and drive its atmosphere, Neptune's winds can reach up to 1,500 mph (2,400 km/h), the fastest detected yet in the solar system. These winds were linked with a large dark storm that Voyager 2 tracked in Neptune's southern hemisphere in 1989. This oval-shaped, counterclockwise-spinning "Great Dark Spot" was large enough to contain the entire Earth, and moved westward at nearly 750 mph (1,200 km/h). This storm seemed to have vanished when the Hubble Space Telescope later searched for it. Hubble has also revealed the appearance and then fading of other Great Dark Spots over the past decade. A new one was observed in 2016. Neptune's magnetic poles are tipped over by roughly 47 degrees compared with the poles along which it spins. As such, the planet's magnetic field, which is about 27 times more powerful than Earth's, undergoes wild swings during each rotation. By studying the cloud formations on the gas giant, scientists were able to calculate that a day on Neptune lasts just under 16 hours. Orbital characteristicsNeptune's elliptical, oval-shaped orbit keeps the planet an average distance from the sun of almost 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers), or roughly 30 times as far away as Earth, making it invisible to the naked eye. Neptune goes around the sun once roughly every 165 Earth years, and completed its first orbit, since being discovered, in 2011. Every 248 years, Pluto moves inside Neptune's orbit for 20 years or so, during which time it is closer to the sun than Neptune. Nevertheless, Neptune remains the farthest planet from the sun, since Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. Composition & structureAtmospheric composition(by volume): hydrogen, 80 percent; helium, 19.0 percent; methane, 1.5 percent Magnetic field: Roughly 27 times more powerful than Earth's Composition: The overall composition of Neptune is, by mass, thought to be about 25 percent rock, 60 to 70 percent ice, and 5 to 15 percent hydrogen and helium, according to Tristan Guillot, author of "Interiors of Giant Planets Inside and Outside the Solar System" in the journal Science. Internal structure: Mantle of water, ammonia and methane ices; Core of iron and magnesium-silicate Orbit & rotationAverage distance from the sun: 2,795,084,800 miles (4,498,252,900 km). By comparison: 30.069 times farther than Earth Perihelion (closest approach to the sun): 2,771,087,000 miles (4,459,630,000 km). By comparison: 29.820 times that of Earth Aphelion (farthest distance from the sun): 2,819,080,000 miles (4,536,870,000 km). By comparison: 30.326 times that of Earth (Source: NASA) Neptune's moonsNeptune has 14 known moons, named after lesser sea gods and nymphs from Greek mythology. The largest by far is Triton, whose discovery on Oct. 10, 1846, was in a sense enabled by beer — amateur astronomer William Lassell used the fortune he made as a brewer to finance his telescopes. Triton is the only spherical moon of Neptune — the planet's other 13 moonsare irregularly shaped. It is also unique in being the only large moon in the solar system to circle its planet in a direction opposite to its planet's rotation — this "retrograde orbit" suggests that Triton may once have been a dwarf planet that Neptune captured rather than forming in place, according to NASA. Neptune's gravity is dragging Triton closer to the planet, meaning that millions of years from now, Triton will come close enough for gravitational forces to rip it apart. Triton is extremely cold, with temperatures on its surface reaching about minus 391 degrees F (minus 235 degrees C), making it one of the coldest places in the solar system. Nevertheless, Voyager 2 detected geysers spewing icy matter upward more than 5 miles (8 km), showing its interior appears warm. Scientists are investigating the possibility of a subsurface oceanon the icy moon. In 2010, seasons were discovered on Triton. In 2013, scientists working with SETI caught sight of Neptune's "lost" moonof Naiad using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The 62-mile-wide (100 km) moon had remained unseen since Voyager 2 discovered it in 1989. Also in 2013, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope found the 14th moon, dubbed S/2004 N 1. It is Neptune's smallest moonand is just 11 miles (18 km) wide. It got its temporary name because it is the first satellite (S) of Neptune (N) to be found from images taken in 2004, according to NASA. The rings of NeptuneNeptune's unusual rings are not uniform, but possess bright thick clumps of dust called arcs. The rings are thought to be relatively young and short-lived. Earth-based observations announced in 2005 found that Neptune's rings are apparently far more unstable than previously thought, with some dwindling away rapidly, according to an article in the journal Icarus. Research & explorationNASA's Voyager 2satellite was the first and as yet only spacecraft to visit Neptune on Aug. 25, 1989. The satellite discovered Neptune's rings and six of the planet's moons — Despina, Galatea, Larissa, Naiad, Proteus and Thalassa. An international team of astronomers relying on ground telescopes announced the discovery of five new moons orbiting Neptune in 2003. Formation of NeptuneNeptune is generally thought to have formedwith the initial buildup of a solid core followed by the capture of surrounding hydrogen and helium gas in the nebula surrounding the early sun. In this model, proto-Neptune formed over the course of 1 to 10 million years. Additional reporting by Nola Taylor Redd and Elizabeth Howell, Space.com contributors. Additional resources NASA's Solar System Exploration: NeptuneVoyager 2: NASA's Mission to NeptuneLearn more about Neptune: How Big Is Neptune?How Far Away Is Neptune?Neptune's AtmosphereWhat Is Neptune Made Of?How Was Neptune Formed?What Is the Temperature of Neptune?Learn more about the solar system: Solar System PlanetsoverviewSolar System FactsMercuryVenusEarthMarsJupiterSaturnUranusPluto, the demoted dwarf planetHave a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten Interesting Facts About Uranus
by Matt WilliamsTen Interesting Facts About UranusThe gas (and ice) giant known as Uranusis a fascinating place. The seventh planet from out Sun, Uranus is the third-largest in terms of size, the fourth-largest in terms of mass, and one of the least dense objects in our Solar System. And interestingly enough, it is the only planet in the Solar System that takes it name from Greek (rather than Roman) mythology. But these basic facts really only begin to scratch the surface. When you get right down to it, Uranus is chock full of interesting and surprising details – from its many moons, to its ring system, and the composition of its aqua atmosphere. Here are just ten things about this gas/ice giant, and we guarantee that at least one of them will surprise you. 1. Uranus is the coldest planet in the Solar System:Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, orbiting at a distance of 2.88 billion km. But it’s still much closer than Neptune, which averages a distance of 4.5 billion km from the Sun. However, this does not prevent Uranus from being colder than Neptune. Whereas the former experiences an average temperature of 72 K (-201 °C/-330 °F), reaching a low of 55 K (-218 °C/-360 °F). Diagram of the interior of Uranus. Credit: Public DomainIn contrast, the temperatures at the cloud tops on Uranus (which is defined as “surface temperature” for gas giants) averages 76 K (-197.2 °C/-323 °F), but can dip as low as 47 K (-226 °C/-375 °F). This is due to the fact that, unlike the other large planets in the Solar System, Uranus actually gives off less heat than it absorbs from the Sun. While the other large planets have tremendously hot cores, which radiate infrared radiation, Uranus’ core cooled down to the point that it no longer radiates much energy. 2. Uranus orbits the Sun on its side:All of the planets in the Solar System rotate on their axis, with a tilt that’s similar to the Sun. In many cases, planet’s have an axial tilt, where one of their poles will be inclined slightly towards the Sun. For example, the axis of the Earth’s rotation is tilted 23.5-degrees away from the Sun’s plane. Mars is similar, with a tilt of about 24 degrees, which results in seasonal changes on both planets. But the axial tilt of Uranus is a staggering 99 degrees! In other words, the planet is rotating on its side. All the planets look a bit like spinning top as they go around the Sun, but Uranus looks more like a ball rolling in a circular pattern. And this leads to another strange fact about Uranus… Uranus, as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/Hubble3. A Season on Uranus lasts one long day – 42 years:A sidereal day on Uranus (that is, the time it takes for the planet to complete a single oration on its axis) is only about 17 hours long. But the tilt of Uranus is so pronounced that one pole or the other is usually pointed towards the Sun. This means that a day at the north pole of Uranus lasts half of a Uranian year – 84 Earth years. So, if you could stand on the north pole of Uranus, you would see the Sun rise in the sky and circle around for 42 years. By the end of this long, drawn-out “summer”, the Sun would finally dip down below the horizon. This would be followed by 42 years of darkness, otherwise known as a single “winter” season on Uranus. 4. Uranus is the second-least dense planet:The least dense planet in the Solar System is Saturn. In fact, with a mean density of 0.687 g/cm3, Saturn’s body is actually less dense than water (1 g/cm³). This means that the planet would float in a pool, provided it were roughly 60,000 km wide. With a mean density of 1.27 g/cm3, Uranus has the second-lowest density of any planet in the Solar System. This low density has an interesting side effect. Despite the fact that Uranus is 14.5 times as massive as the Earth, its significantly lower density means that you would only experience about 89% the force of gravity, assuming you could stand on Uranus’ cloud tops. Uranus viewed in the infrared spectrum, revealing internal heating and its ring system. Image Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory5. Uranus has rings:When it comes to ring systems, Saturn’s are the most famous. In addition to be colorful and far-reaching, they are also highly visible. One could spot them using nothing more than a backyard telescope. But in truth, all the gas and ice giants have their own ring systems, and Uranus’ is the second most dramatic set of rings in the Solar System. However, these rings are composed of extremely dark particles which vary in size from micrometers to a fraction of a meter – hence why they are not nearly as discernible as Saturn’s. Thirteen distinct rings are presently known, the brightest being the epsilon ring. And with the exception of two very narrow ones, these rings usually measure a few kilometers in width. The rings are probably quite young, and are not believed to have formed with Uranus. The matter in the rings may once have been part of a moon (or moons) that was shattered by high-speed impacts. From numerous pieces of debris that formed as a result of those impacts, only a few particles survived, in stable zones corresponding to the locations of the present rings. 6. The atmosphere of Uranus contains “ices”:Compared to Jupiter and Uranus, Neptune seems quite… normal. When one looks at the swirling clouds and eddies that stream across the surface of Jupiter and Saturn, the violent and turbulent nature of their atmospheres is made clear. Uranus, by contrast, appears as a light and uniform blue. But thanks to improved instruments that can examine planets through other wavelengths (i.e. infrared) and the flyby conducted by the Voyager 2spacecraft, some significant things become apparent. For example, Uranus has powerful zonal winds within its atmosphere that can reach up to 250 m/s (900 km/h, 560 mph), and can generate anticyclonic storms like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot(known as the “Dark Spot“). It also has cloud patterns that differ between hemispheres, some of which last for mere hours while others can persist for years or decades. But perhaps most interesting is the presence of certain “ices” in Uranus’ atmosphere. The third-most-abundant component of Uranus’s atmosphere is methane (CH), which is what accounts for Uranus’ aquamarine color. There are also trace amounts of other hydrocarbons, such as ethane, acetylene, methylacetylene, and diacetelyne – all of which are believed to be the result of methane interacting with solar ultraviolent radiation (aka. photolysis). Uranus’ Dark Spot, as imaged by the Hubble telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA/L. SromovskyAnd last, there are confirmed traces of water, ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide within the layers of Uranus’ atmosphere. And due to the extreme cold, they are suspended in an icy state (hence the term “ice giant”). 7. Uranus has 27 moons:Like all of the giant planets, Uranus has its share of moons. At present, astronomers have confirmed the existence of 27 natural satellites. But for the most part, these moons are small and irregular.If you were to add up all of their masses, they would still be less than the half the mass of Triton, Neptune’s largest moon. However, unlike Triton, Uranus’ larger moons are all believed to have formed from an accretion disk that surrounded the planet, rather than being captured objects. The largest moons of Uranus are, in order of size, Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Oberonand Titania. These moons range in diameter and mass from 472 km and 6.7 × 1019 kg for Miranda to 1578 km and 3.5 × 1021 kg for Titania. Each of these moons is particularly dark, with low bond and geometric albedos. Ariel is the brightest while Umbriel is the darkest. Each one is comprised of roughly equal amounts of rock and ice, except for Miranda which is made primarily of ice, which may include ammonia and carbon dioxide, while the rocky material is believed to be composed of carbonaceous material. Their compositions are believed to be differentiated, with an icy mantle surrounding a rocky core. In the case of Titania and Oberon, it is believed that liquid water oceans may exist at the core/mantle boundary. A montage of Uranus’s largest moons: Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon (from left to right). Credit: NASAThe rest of Uranus’ moons, which are either situated within the orbit of Miranda or beyond Oberon, are all connected to Uranus’ ring system, which probably resulted from the fragmentation of one or several small inner moons. All of them are composed of ices contaminated with a dark material, which are most likely organic compounds darkened by exposure to UV radiation. 8. Uranus was the first planet discovered in the modern age:Most of the planets are visible to the unaided eye, and were known in ancient times. Uranus was the first planet discovered after the invention of the telescope. It was first recorded in 1690 by John Flamsteed, who thought it was a star in the constellation Tauri. But it wasn’t until Sir William Herschelmade his observations in 1781 that astronomers finally realized it was a planet. Herschel originally wanted to call Uranus “George’s Star” after King George III of England. However, this was not a popular name outside of England. Eventually, the astronomical community officially settled on the name Uranus – the Latinized version of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos – and the name stuck. 9. You can see Uranus with the unaided eye:You might be surprised to know that you can see Uranus without a telescope. At magnitude 5.3, Uranus is just within the brightness scale that a human eye can perceive. Unfortunately, you’d need to make sure that the night sky was extremely dark (i.e. no light pollution), and would have to know exactly where to look. The Voyager spacecraft have been on an extensive mission of discovery that has lasted some 36 years. Credit: NASA/JPLBecause of this, Uranus has actually been spotted many times in the past by ancient and pre-modern astronomers. But given its low luminosity compared to the other planets, it was generally mistaken for a star. In fact, when Flamsteed first observed it, he cataloged it as 34 Tauri, believing it to be a star in the Taurus constellation. 10. Uranus has only been visited once:Only one spacecraft in the history of spaceflight has ever made a close approach to Uranus. NASA’s Voyager 2 conducted its closest approach to Uranus on January 24th, 1986, passing within 81,000 km of the cloud tops of Uranus. It took thousands of photographs of the gas/ice giant and its moons before speeding off towards its next target: Neptune. No other spacecraft have ever been sent towards Uranus, and there are currently no plans to send any more. The possibility of sending the Cassinispacecraft from Saturn to Uranus was evaluated during a mission extension planning phase in 2009. However, this never came to fruition, as it would have taken about twenty years for Cassini to get to the Uranian system after departing Saturn. While several proposals are currently under consideration, none have been confirmed yet. We have written many interesting articles about Uranushere at Universe Today. Here’s one about the Tilt of Uranus, the Atmosphere of Uranus, The Rings of Uranus, and How Many Moons Does Uranus Have? Astronomy Cast also has some fascinating episodes on the subject, including: Episode 62: Uranusand Episode 199: The Voyager Program, Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)MoreClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading...CategoriesAstronomy, Guide to SpaceTagsariel, carbonaceous material, cassini-huygens, gas giant, great dark spot, ice giant, Miranda, moons of uranus, Neptune, Oberon, rings of uranus, Saturn, Sir William Herschel, Titania, triton, umbriel, Uranus, Voyager 22 Replies to “Ten Interesting Facts About Uranus” Hailey Fisher says:January 8, 2009 at 3:45 PMThis is very interesting…nbut when was it last updated? Thnx bye!:)
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