Portal:Uranus

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Uranus

A photo of Uranus taken by Voyager 2.

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun; it is the third largest and fourth most massive planet in the solar system. Uranus was the first planet discovered in modern times. Though it is visible to the naked eye like the five classical planets, it was never recognised as a planet by ancient observers due to its dimness. Sir William Herschel announced its discovery on March 13, 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the solar system. Uranus' atmosphere, although similar to Jupiter and Saturn in being composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, contains a higher proportion of "ices" such as water, ammonia and methane, along with the usual traces of hydrocarbons. It has the coldest planetary atmosphere in the solar system, with a minimum temperature of 49 K, and has a complex layered cloud structure in which water is thought to make up the lowest clouds, while methane makes up the uppermost layer of clouds. In 1986, images from the Voyager 2 space probe showed Uranus as a virtually featureless planet in visible light without the cloud bands or storms associated with the other giants. The wind speeds on Uranus can reach 250 m/s (560 mph).

More about...Uranus: its history, rings, atmosphere, climate, moons, and its exploration


Selected article

Voyager 2 image of Puck
Puck (/ˈpʌk/ PUK) is an inner moon of Uranus. It was discovered in December 1985 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The name Puck comes from Celtic mythology and English folklore. The orbit of Puck lies between the rings of Uranus and the first of Uranus' large moons, Miranda. Puck is approximately spherical in shape and has diameter of about 162 km. It has a dark heavily cratered surface, which shows spectral signs of water ice.

Selected biography

William Lassell
Born in Bolton, he made his fortune as a beer brewer, which enabled him to indulge his interest in astronomy. He built an observatory near Liverpool with a 24-inch (610 mm) reflector telescope. In 1846 Lassell discovered Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle. In 1848 he independently co-discovered Hyperion, a moon of Saturn. In 1851 he discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two new moons of Uranus.

Topics

Uranus Atmosphere ˑ Climate ˑ Exploration (Voyager 2) ˑ Rings

Moons (Portia ˑ Puck ˑ Miranda ˑ Ariel ˑ Umbriel ˑ Titania ˑ Oberon ˑ Caliban ˑ Sycorax)

Astronomers: William Herschel ˑ William Lassell ˑ Gerard Kuiper ˑ James L. Elliot

See Also: Formation and evolution of the Solar System ˑ Gas Giant ˑ Nebular hypothesis

Bold articles are featured.
Italicized articles are on dwarf planets or major moons.


Selected picture

Inverness and Elsinore coronae on Miranda
Credit: NASA/JPL

This image of Miranda, obtained by Voyager 2 on approach, shows Inverness Corona (in the lower-left corner) and Elsinore Corona—V shaped feature in the upper-right corner. Voyager was 42,000 kilometers (26,000 miles) away when its narrow-angle camera acquired this clear-filter view. Grooved areas baring light and dark bands, distinct from other areas of mottled terrain, are visible at this resolution of about 600 meters (2,000 feet). Cutting across the bands are sinuous scarps, probably faults. Superimposed on both types of terrain are many bowl-shaped impact craters less than 5 km (3 mi) wide. The entire picture spans an area about 220 km (140 mi) across.

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