|Diameter||51000 km, 4 x Earth's|
|Average Distance from Sun||2870 x 106km = 19.2 AU|
Traces of ethene
|Length of Day||17.3 hours|
|Length of Year||84 years|
|No. of Moons||15|
|Gravity||1.15 x Earth's|
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, and the third of the gas giants. It was found by William Herschell in 1781. Uranus has fifteen moons, which are all named after characters from plays written by Shakespeare and Pope.
Miranda is one of the more interesting moons. It looks as if parts of the moon on the outside should really be on the inside. It is now thought that Miranda was made in the same way as the other moons but that it was hit by something so large that it was completely broken up. These chunks of rock would then have been pulled back together by gravity but in a different order. Some areas that had been on the inside of the moon would have been added to the outside and some bits from the outside would have ended up on the inside. This would explain the way Miranda looks today.
Uranus also has a faint ring system like Saturnís but this is made from darker rocks so it is harder to see.
Scientists argue about which way Uranus is spinning. Either the north pole points slightly down and the planet is spinning the same way as most of the others or the north pole points slightly up and the planet spins the same way as Venus.
Authors: Carolyn Brinkworth and Claire Thomas
Last updated: July 2001