Sunday, July 13, 2014

Uranus



Order from Sun: 7
Named For: Greek god of the sky
Diameter: 31,520 miles
Volume: 63x Earth
Gravity: 0.91 Earth
Distance from Sun: 1.7 billion miles
Orbital Period: 84 years
Orbital Inclination: 0.77 degrees
Orbital Eccentricity: .047
Length of Day: 17.23 hours
Temperature: -357F
Composition: Gasses, ices
Atmospheric Composition: hydrogen, helium, methane
Moons: 27
Rings: yes, thin
Notable Exploration: Voyager 2 (1986)

The first planet discovered by telescope, Uranus was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel and appears to the naked eye as indistinguishable from the stellar background under dark skies thanks to its shining around magnitude +6.5, which is near the naked eye limit for keen-eyed observers under dark skies. Uranus takes about 84 years to orbit the Sun and thus spends about 7 years in any given constellation of the zodiac.

Thanks to its distance, even in telescopes, the only way to tell Uranus apart from background stars is by its distinctive teal color. At high powers, one can also tell its true nature thanks to the distinct disc at its edges, which present a crisp line, rather than the diffuse light that characterizes stars.

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