Planet Uranus Facts for Kids

There are plenty of kid facts about Uranus you can find all over the internet, which makes it easier for young children to learn more about this amazing planet. Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and it’s believed that this is the first planet that was ever discovered by scientists. By using a telescope, Uranus is still visible to the naked eye and was once mistaken for a huge star because of its dimness and slow orbit. Unlike other planets, Uranus has a unique tilt making its axis point nearly directly to the sun.

Uranus “The Ice Giant” – What Does It Look Like?

According to facts, Uranus has a blue-green hue, which is a result of methane in the hydrogen-helium packed atmosphere. The reason why Uranus is usually called the “Ice Giant” is that 80% of its mass is made of a fluid mixture of water, methane, and ammonia ice. Compared to other planets in the solar system, Uranus is tilted and it orbits the sun while tilting on its side where its axis is nearly pointing at the Sun. Many astronomers and scientists believe that this is because of a collision with a planet-sized body or maybe from several small bodies when the planet was formed.

The Unique Seasons on Uranus

Because of the planets’ tilt, Uranus has extreme seasons that last for 20 long years. Cool kid facts about Uranus says that a quarter of a Uranian year is equivalent to 84 Earth years. This is when the sun shines directly on each pole, while the other half of the planet is dark and cold during the planet’s winter. In the solar system, Uranus has the coldest atmosphere. Compared to other planets, even though it’s not the farthest planet from the sun, Uranus has little to no internal heat that can contain the heat of the sun.

The Planet Uranus’ Most Important Characteristics

Learning about the amazing kid facts about Uranus is very important, especially for kids who have a growing interest in what lies beyond our skies. So, here are the most interesting facts about the planet Uranus that every kid should know about:

Distance from the Sun

According to orbital kid facts about Uranus, the planet’s average distance from the sun is about 1,783,939,400 miles. This is almost 20% more than Earth’s distance from the sun.

  • Perihelion: This is the closest distance of Uranus from the sun and is about 1,699,800,000 miles.
  • Aphelion: is the farthest distance of Uranus from the sun and the estimated distance is about 1,868,080,000 miles.

Here are some interesting facts about the planet Uranus:

Uranus is the coldest planet in our solar system at an average temperature of -216°C or -357°F. You may be thinking that is why it is a blue color, however, Uranus is blue because its clouds are made of methane which reflects the blue color from the spectrum of colors from the Sun. Another fact about Uranus is that it is a Gas or Jovian planet with an atmospheric composition of 82.5 % Hydrogen; 15.2 % Helium and 2.3 % Methane. Uranus was discovered on March 13, 1781, by William Herschel. Uranus has 27 moons made mostly of rock and ice and 13 rings. Uranus’s largest moon is named Titania, which has a diameter of 1,578 kilometers or 981 miles, about half the size of the Earth’s moon. Another awesome fact about Uranus is that it makes you think you’re skinnier since if you weighed 150 pounds on Earth then you would weigh 136 pounds on Uranus because of the fact that its gravity is only 8.87 m/s2 or 29.1 ft/s2.

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What is Climate Like?

The extreme axis tilt of Uranus has given rise to very unusual weather. According to NASA, sunlight can still reach some areas on the planet, for minimal time in years, this heats up its atmosphere and causes springtime storms that can be as large as the size of North America. When the Voyager 2 was able to first catch an image of Uranus in 1986, during peak summer in the south, images showed a bland-looking sphere that was about 10 visible clouds. This was the reason why Uranus was named “The Most Boring Planet.

When Hubble was used a couple of years later, the seasons in Uranus changed to the extremes. There were fast-moving winds that reached a speed of 560 miles per hour. It was in 2014 when astronomers were able to catch a glimpse of a summer storm on Uranus. These massive storms occurred 7 years after Uranus approached the sun; the late giant storms still remain a mystery up to this day.

It has been reported that Uranus has unusual weathers like, “Diamond Rain”. In facts of Neptune for kids article its mentioned that this is thought to fall just thousands of miles below the surface of planets like Uranus and Neptune. It’s caused by extreme compression of carbon and hydrogen in the atmosphere, forming diamonds which sink downward and eventually settle around the core of these planets.

Uranus And Its Rings

Many children who are highly interested in different kid facts about Uranus know that this amazing planet also has rings that were discovered after Saturn. This discovery was able to help astronomers understand that rings are mutual features of these planets. Uranus has two sets of rings which was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope. The inner ring is composed of narrow, dark rings, while its outer system has two distant rings that are brightly colored, i.e., red and blue. Till date, the scientists have discovered a total of 13 known rings around Uranus.

Uranus And Its Moons

Uranus is one of the planets in the solar system that has an impressive number of moons. It has a total of 27 known moons, the first 4 discovered moons were named after English literature classics such as, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare and “The Rape of the Rock” by Alexander Pope. Ever since then, scientists have continued this tradition and named other moons after outstanding works of Shakespeare and Pope.

The TOP 10 Moons of Uranus (From the largest to the smallest)

The largest moons of Uranus ranges from 240 to 800 km in radius. All of these are discovered telescopically from Earth; four of them were before the 20th century. Between 1985 and 1986, ten small inner moons were discovered by Voyager 2. Here are the top 10 moons of Uranus according to its size.

  1. Cordelia
  2. Ophelia
  3. Bianca
  4. Cressida
  5. Desdemona
  6. Juliet
  7. Portia
  8. Rosalind
  9. Cupid
  10. Belinda
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Planet Uranus
Planet Uranus

Uranus Color

The color of Uranus is generally blue. Why blue? Well if you remember the Sun gives off all the colors on the spectrum, Uranus is able to absorb all the colors except the blue which it instead reflects which gives it the bluish color we see. But why can’t it absorb the color blue? Uranus’s clouds are composed of methane which does not absorb the blue color from the Sun’s spectrum. Earth is the other planet that has a blue color, but that is because of the water.

What is the Diameter of Uranus?

The average diameter of the planet Uranus is 50,724 km or 31,518 miles (radius 25,362 km or 15,759.2 miles). The reason why it is an average is that the diameter is not exactly the same when measured at the equator and when measured from the North and South Pole. The diameter of Uranus’s equator is 51,118 km or 31,763 miles (radius 25,559 km or 15,882 miles). The diameter, when measured from pole to pole, is 49,946 or 31,035 miles (radius 24,973 km or 15,517 miles). It is the quick rotation of Uranus (17 hours, 14 minutes and 24 seconds for a full rotation) which causes this widening at the equator.

Diameter of Uranus compared to EarthWhen compared to the Earth’s average diameter (12,742 km or 7,917 miles), Uranus’s average diameter is 3.9809 times larger. Uranus’s equator diameter is 4.007 times larger than Earth’s equator diameter (12,756.2 km or 7,926 miles). Uranus’s pole to pole diameter is 3.929 times larger than Earth’s pole to pole diameter (12,713.6 km or 7,900 miles).

What is the average temperature on Uranus?

The effective temperature of Uranus is -216°C or -357°F. At 1 bar of pressure on the planet, the temperature is -197°C or -322.6°F and at .1 bar of pressure on the planet, the temperature is -220°C or -364°F. Although Uranus is not the furthest planet from the Sun it is definitely the coldest planet in our solar system. It also has the least warm core at 4,727°C or 8,540.6°F than any of the other gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune). Some scientists propose it could be because Uranus may have gotten it’s 97.8° tilt by some massive collision by another large object, then this collision may have caused the core to release a lot of heat.

Another possible reason why Uranus is so cold is that half the planet is always in darkness because of its tilt, and then this lack of sunlight on 50% of the planet causes these extreme cold temperatures, unlike the other gas giants who generally get sunlight on the entire planet within 1 Earth day. Half of Uranus’s planet does not get sunlight for about 42 years. Think about it this way, if you put a ball in the Sunlight for 10 minutes straight, then the part of the ball that was in the shade for 10 minutes straight will obviously be cooler. So if I take the average temperature of the entire ball’s surface (cool and warm areas) it would be lower than the ball’s surface if I continuously rotated it in the Sunlight for 10 minutes (making sure the whole surface gets Sun).

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What is the mass of Uranus?

Uranus has a mass of 8.6810 x 1025 kg or 86,810,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg which is 14.536 of Earth’s mass. Uranus’s mass is the fourth highest of all planets in our solar system. Mass is just how much matter an object contains, for Uranus this matter is ice liquid, ammonia, and methane.

Uranus Mass
Image of Uranus Taken on January 1986 by Voyager 2

Since mass = density x volume, it is intuitive to calculate the mass of Uranus. Its density is 1.27 g/cm3 which is 0.23 of Earth’s density. Its volume is 68,334,355,695,584 km3 which is 63.085 of Earth’s volume. So to get mass in kg we must convert 1.27 g/cm3 to 1,270 kg/m3 and convert 68,334,355,695,584 km3 to 68,334,355,695,584,000,000,000 m3. Now if we multiply these 2 numbers we get 8.68 x 1025 kg.

Uranus Orbit

The orbit circumference for Uranus is 18,026,802,831 km or 11,201,335,967 miles. At an average orbit velocity of 24,477 km/h or 15,209 mph (.23 of Earth’s velocity), it takes Uranus 30,687.15 Earth days or 84 years to make 1 trip around the Sun. Uranus’s orbital inclination is 0.77°, which is the second-lowest of all planets (Earth’s orbit inclination is the flattest at 0°).

Uranus’s orbit eccentricity is 0.04725744 (2.828 more than Earth), which means it has more of an elliptical orbit around the Sun than Earth. As Uranus goes on this orbit the closest (Perihelion) it will get to the Sun is 147,098,291 km or 91,402,640 miles. The farthest (Aphelion) it will get is 152,098,233 km or 94,509,460 miles. Hence, Uranus’s average distance from the Sun is 149,598,262 km or 92,956,050 miles.

Uranus’s equatorial inclination to orbit is a whopping 97.8° (Earth’s is 23.44°), which is more than any other planet. This means if you take a straight line from the Sun to Uranus, then this line would almost go through the North and South pole of the planet. As you can imagine with this great tilt, if someone were living at the North Pole on Uranus then that lucky individual would have about 40 years of straight sunlight and then about 40 years of straight darkness. The image illustration below shows Uranus’s orbit as it would be starting from 1965. Note: the elliptical and inclination are not shown.

Orbit of Uranus

Uranus Surface

Uranus does not have a solid surface because the upper atmosphere is gas and as you approach the core you would see the gas gradually turn into ice liquid. Hence, there really is nowhere to land on the planet. Instead, the surface is defined as where the atmospheric pressure is 1 bar level.

Uranus has the fourth-largest surface area of our planets at 8,083,079,690 km2 or 3,120,894,516 mi2 which is 15.847 of Earth’s surface area. The temperature at Uranus’s surface is -197°C or -322.6°F which is just a few degrees of having the coldest temperature, where Neptune has the coldest surface temperature at -201°C or -329.80°F. The composition at the surface of Uranus is hydrogen, helium, and methane, but as mentioned this is not a solid surface.

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