5 Amazing Facts About Uranus That You Didn’t Know

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There are four planets in our solar system that has rings around them, namely Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus. These planets also form part of a group of planets known as the gas planets and scientists believe that their rings were generated over time. This means that at some point in time, they never existed.

One of the most interesting of these giant planets in our Solar System is Uranus. The name Uranus was derived from the Latin form of the popular Greek god Ouranos. Here are 5 interesting facts about this gas planet that you might not know.

#1: Uranus Was the First Planet Discovered Using a Telescope


In 1781, the British scientist William Herschel discovered the seventh planet from the sun, classifying it then as a comet. Long before Herschel, scientists dating back to 128 BC were believed to have observed the planet and listed it as a star.

However, it was not until April 23, 1781, that the English Royal Society informed Sir William Herschel that Uranus was a planet.

#2: Uranus Is the Coldest Planet in The Solar System

When Herschel reported his discovery, the size of the Solar System also doubled since Uranus is twice the distance from the sun as Saturn. This also makes it the coldest planet of all recording an estimated minimum temperature of 49 K (−224 °C; −371 °F).

According to scientists, the planet ‘is a gaseous cyan-coloured ice giant.’ This is due to its unique voyage around the sun equaling 84 Earth years. Of these years, 42 of them are made without any form of sunlight.

#3: You Can See the Planet with the Naked Eye

For years scientists and astronomers have been looking at Uranus without knowing that it was a planet. About 128 BC, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus recognized the planet as a star. Later, Claudius Ptolemy published it as a part of his findings.

Other important astrologers and historians have all gazed at the amazing solar body reporting their sightings. In 1690 John Flamsteed observed it about six times calling it 34 Tauri.  Half a century later, in 1750 the French astronomer Pierre Charles Le Monnier observed the planet about twelve times.

#4: Uranus Was First Called Neptune!


After Herschel’s amazing discovery was confirmed, the scientific community decided to name the planet. The discoverer chose to label it as Georgium Sidus (literally George’s Star) in honor of King George III.  However, outside of London, this name was not so popular, and new names were quickly added to the planet.

Notably, over ten other names were used including one from the Swedish astronomer Erik Prosperin who proposed calling it Neptune.

#5:  Uranus Orbits the Sun on its Side

If you have observed a ball rolling in circles then you may understand how Uranus orbits the sun. Scientists have claimed that the planet has a 97.8° tilt, making the planet roll around the sun instead.

Another theory about the strange orbit of the gas giant states that it was hit by a large planetoid in it its early history.  This is believed to have created the tilt in its orbital motion. Likewise, Venus may have had a similar accident as it rotates backward.

As we gaze at the planet and stars that form our Solar Systems, rest assured that one of those ringed, gas giants is Uranus.



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