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Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.
See the fact file below for more information on the Uranus or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Uranus worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
URANUS PLANET PROFILE
- Equatorial Diameter: 51,118 km
- Polar Diameter: 49,946 km
- Mass: 8.68 x 10^25 kg (15 Earths)
- Moons: 27
- Rings: 13
- Orbit Distance: 2,870,186 km (19.19 AU)
- Orbit Period: 30,687 days (84.0 years)
- Effective Temperature: -216 ℃
- Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. While being visible to the naked eye, it was not recognized as a planet due to its dimness and slow orbit. Uranus became the first planet discovered with the use of a telescope. Uranus is tipped over on its side with an axial tilt of 98 degrees. It is often described as “rolling around the Sun on its side.”
DISCOVERY OF URANUS
- Uranus was officially discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1781. It is too dim to have been seen by the ancients. At first Herschel thought it was a comet, but several years later it was confirmed as a planet. Herschel tried to have his discovery named “Georgium Sidus” after King George III. The name Uranus was suggested by astronomer Johann Bode. The name comes from the ancient Greek deity Ouranos.
- In 1986, the Voyager 2 spacecraft swept past the planet at a distance of 81,500 km. It returned the first close-up images of the planet, its moons, and rings.
- Uranus turns on its axis once every 17 hours, 14 minutes. The planet rotates in a retrograde direction, opposite to the way Earth and most other planets turn.
- Uranus makes one trip around the Sun every 84 Earth years. During some parts of its orbit, one or the other of its poles point directly at the Sun and gets about 42 years of direct sunlight. The rest of the time they are in darkness.
- Uranus is often referred to as an “ice giant” planet. Like the other gas giants, it has a hydrogen upper layer, which has helium mixed in. Below that is an icy “mantle, which surrounds a rock and ice core”. The upper atmosphere is made of water, ammonia, and the methane ice crystals that give the planet its pale blue colour.
- Uranus hits the coldest temperatures of any planet. With a minimum atmospheric temperature of -224°C, Uranus is nearly the coldest planet in the solar system. While Neptune doesn’t get as cold as Uranus it is on average colder. The upper atmosphere of Uranus is covered by methane. Methane absorbs red light and scatters blue light so a blue-green methane haze hides the interior of the planet from view.
RINGS OF URANUS
- Uranus has two sets of very thin dark coloured rings. The ring particles are small, ranging from dust-sized particles to small boulders. There are eleven inner rings and two outer rings. They probably formed when one or more of Uranus’s moons were broken up in an impact.
- The rings of Uranus were discovered on March 10, 1977, by James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Jessica Mink. William Herschel had also reported observing rings in 1789, but modern astronomers are divided on whether he could have seen them, as they are very dark and faint.
- The rings of Uranus are thought to be relatively young, and not more than 600 million years old.
- By 1978, nine distinct rings were identified. Two additional rings were discovered in 1986 in images taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, and two outer rings were found in 2003–2005 in Hubble Space Telescope photos. The majority of Uranus’s rings are opaque and only a few kilometers wide. The ring system contains little dust overall. It consists mostly of large bodies 0.2–20 m in diameter. Some rings are optically thin.
- Uranus’ moons are named after characters created by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. These include Oberon, Titania, and Miranda. All are frozen worlds with dark surfaces. Some are ice and rock mixtures. The most interesting Uranian moon is Miranda as it has ice canyons, terraces, and other strange-looking surface areas.
MOONS OF URANUS
- Uranus is known to have 27 moons in orbit around it. The five largest are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. The innermost moons are similar in characteristics with thin rings. The five largest moons are rounded, and four of them show some kind of internal activity which shapes their surfaces. William Herschel who discovered Uranus in 1781 also observed the largest two moons, Titania and Oberon, in 1787.
- Notable Moons – Miranda, Titania, Ariel, Umbriel, and Oberon.
- Other Moons – Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Cupid, Belinda, Perdita, Puck, Mab, Francisco, Caliban, Stephano, Trinculo, Sycorax, Margaret, Prospero, Setebos, and Ferdinand.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Uranus across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Uranus worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Uranus which is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Uranus Planet Profile
- All About Uranus
- Fact or Bluff
- Name the Planets
- Color Me
- Word Search
- Wh Mix Up
- Notable Moons
- Word Bank
- Venn Diagram
- Acrostic Poem
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Link will appear as Uranus Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 18, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.