Uranus Fact File

Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and has a distinctive blue-green color due to methane gas in its atmosphere. Uranus is classified as a gas giant, because it has no solid surface. The atmosphere consists mainly of hydrogen and helium, small amounts of methane and traces of water and ammonia.

Uranus currently moves around the Sun with its rotation axis nearly horizontal with respect to the ecliptic plane. This is suspected to be the result of a collision with a planet-sized body early in the planet's history, which apparently changed Uranus' rotation radically.

Uranus is so far from the Sun that, even though tipped on its side and experiencing seasons that last over twenty years, the temperature differences on the summer and winter sides of the planet do not differ that greatly. Near the cloudtops, the temperature of Uranus is near -215 C. It takes Uranus 84 years to complete its orbit around the sun.

Uranus has 11 rings and 27 known moons. The rings were first discovered in 1977. The 10 outer rings are dark, thin, and narrow, while the 11th ring is inside the other ten and is broad and diffuse. The rings of Uranus are very different from those surrounding Jupiter and Saturn. When viewed with the Sun behind the rings, fine dust can be seen scattered throughout all of the rings.

Uranus: Facts & Figures

  • Average Distance from the Sun: 2,870,972,200 km
  • Perihelion (closest): 2,735,560,000 km
  • Aphelion (farthest): 3,006,390,000 km
  • Equatorial Radius: 25,559 km
  • Equatorial Circumference: 160,592 km
  • Mass: 86,849,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
  • Volume: 69,142,000,000,000 km3
  • Density: 1.30 g/cm3
  • Surface Area: 8,115,600,000 km2
  • Equatorial Surface Gravity: 8.43 m/s2
  • Escape Velocity: 76,640 km/h
  • Length of Day: 17.24 hours (retrograde)
  • Length of Year: 30,687.2 Earth days (84.02 Earth years)
  • Mean Orbit Velocity: 24,607 km/h
  • Orbital Eccentricity: .047168
  • Orbital Inclination to Ecliptic: 0.770 degrees
  • Equatorial Inclination to Orbit: 97.86 degrees
  • Orbital Circumference: 17,620,000,000 km
  • Effective Temperature: -216 °C
  • Atmospheric Constituents: Hydrogen, Helium, Methane
  • Number of Moons: 27

Source: NASA