URANUS

Tilted at 98°, Uranus seems to be spinning on its side. As it moves in its orbit, first one pole and then the other points straight at the Sun. Uranus is the third-largest planet, a gas giant with 11 narrow rings.

Table 10. URANUS DATA

Diameter (width) at equator31,764 miles (51,118 km)
Average distance from Sun1.784 billion miles (2.871 billion km)
Time to orbit Sun84 years
Time to spin around own axis17.24 hours
Mass14.5 x Earth’s mass
Gravity0.89 x Earth’s gravity
Cloudtop temperature–322°F (–197°C)
Number of moons21

WHO DISCOVERED URANUS?

In 1781, English astronomer William Herschel spied Uranus through his homemade telescope. It was the first planet to be discovered with a telescope.

WHAT ARE URANUS’S MOONS LIKE?

Uranus has at least 21 moons, and most of them are tiny. Titania, 981 miles (1,578 km) across, is the biggest, and Stephano, roughly 12 miles (20 km) across, the smallest. Most of the moons are named after characters from Shakespeare.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley