The Icy Planet of Uranus


Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system. There are a total of 27 moons orbiting around Uranus; most are named after characters in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The five major moons are Titania, Oberon, Miranda, Arie, and Umbrick.

Uranus is one of the four gas giants, which are planets entirely composed of gas. The other gas giants are Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. Most of the center of Uranus is a cold, frozen mass of ammonia, a colorless, strong-smelling gas. Uranus was first discovered by William Herschel in 1781 while he was surveying the sky using a telescope. William Herschel was born in Hanover, Germany. He moved to England in 1757 in the order to follow a career as a musician, but after buying a book about astronomy he became interested only in discovering the sky. In 1782 George III appointed Herschel the astronomer royal of England. Herschel also discovered both of Uranus's moons using a longer telescope.

Two hundred years later, photos of Uranus were sent back to Earth by the Voyager spacecraft in the 1980s. The photos showed two more rings around the planet. Between 2003 and 2005, the Hubble space telescope found two more very faint rings that are very distant from the planet. Currently, we know there are a total of 13 rings. Scientists don’t yet understand exactly what caused these rings to be where they are, or exactly what they consist of. Since Uranus was first observed, scientists noticed a certain aspect of this planet – that it was being pulled farther out to space. In the 19th century astronomers figured out that it must be because of the pull of gravity from a planet beyond our solar system.

Uranus is a great planet because it has a nice blue – green color, and it has a lot of rings and moons.

[Source: planetforkids.org]

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