Uranus with Seventeen Sattelites
Uranus, father of Saturn and grandfather of Jupiter
(seventh planet the sun).
Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens,
the earliest supreme god.
- Uranus was the son and mate of Gaia, the father of Cronus (Saturn) and of the Cyclopes, and of the Titans (predecessors of the Olympian gods).
- Careful pronunciation may be necessary to avoid embarrassment. Say: YOOR uh nuhs or yoo RAY nuhs.
- Pluto was the god of the lower world in Greek mythology whose name meant riches or wealth.
A few scientific facts about Uranus:
- Uranus, the first planet discovered in modern times, was discovered by William Herschel while systematically searching the sky with his telescope on March 13, 1781.
- It had actually been seen many times before but ignored as simply another star (the earliest recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri).
- Herschel named it the Georgium Sidus (the Georgian Planet) in honor of his patron, the infamous (to Americans) King George III of England; others called it Herschel.
- The name Uranus was first proposed by Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826, German astronomer) in conformity with the other planetary names from classical mythology but it didn't come into common use until 1850.
- Herschel developed and improved a reflecting telescope and used it to discover the planet Uranus (March 13, 1781) and the moons of Uranus and of Saturn.
- Uranus is the third of the Gas Giant planets, and the first planet discovered in modern times (1781).
- It is barely visible from the Earth without a telescope, which explains why it was not known as a planet to the ancients, and why it had been observed various times after the telescope had been invented without the observers realizing that it was a planet and not a star.
- Uranus has five large moons: Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.
- There are ten small satellites and at least nine rings.
- As with most of the planets, Uranus, too, has a very unique
- It is the only planet that does not rotate perpendicularly to the ecliptic plane.
- This is to say that Uranus lies on its side, or tipped over, and its north pole points almost directly toward the sun for a half Uranian year, and its south pole points toward the Sun during the other half.
- This strange axis tilt produces some extreme seasonal effects.
- No one knows why Uranus is tilted in this way.
- Some have speculated that another planet-sized body might have altered the planets spin axis, but there is no direct evidence for such an occurrence.
- Until the Voyager made its probe in space Uranus was known to have five moons.
- These moons are Miranda, Oberon, Titania, Umbriel and Ariel; but, ten small new moons were discovered within the orbit of Miranda.
- Uranus moons were named from Shakespeare plays and a poem written by Alexander Pope.
- All five are approximately 50% denser than water showing that some type of ice is present.
- This ice is believed to be either methane, ammonia, frozen water, or other types of compounds.
- All of the moons are dark gray in color which leads scientists to believe they could be covered with carbon soot or graphite.
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