Uranus Facts

  • William Herschel discovered Uranus in 1781, making Uranus the first planet discovered in modern history.
  • It takes Uranus roughly 84 (Earth) years to orbit the sun.
  • The axis of Uranus is 98 degrees, so it almost lies sideways as it orbits the sun. In other words, the north and south poles on Uranus lie near where the equator is on Earth.
  • Scientists don't know why Uranus is tilted so much, while the other planets are not. One theory is that an Earth-sized planet crashed into it and forced its axis to shift.
  • As Uranus is tilted so much, its poles receive more energy from the sun than its equator. However, its equator is actually hotter. The reason for this is not currently known.
  • The wind on Uranus can reach speeds of 900 kilometers per hour (560 miles per hour).
  • Uranus has a mass about 14 and a half times the mass of Earth. This makes it the lightest of the four gas giants.
  • Uranus is the second least dense planet in the Solar System, after Saturn.
  • Scientists believe that Uranus has a rocky core in the center, an icy mantle in the middle and an outer gas layer.
  • Uranus was the second planet in the Solar System to be observed to have rings.
  • The chemical element uranium, discovered in 1789, was named after the newly discovered planet Uranus.
  • The gravity on Uranus is only 91% of the gravity on Earth.
  • In 1977, Uranus was discovered to have a ring system. This ring system is extremely faint compared to the ring system of Saturn.