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Diameter51000 km, 4 x Earth's
Mass14.5 ME
Volume64 VE
Average Distance from Sun2870 x 106km = 19.2 AU
ColourGreeny blue
AtmosphereHydrogen (83%)
Helium (15%)
Methane (2%)
Traces of ethene
Length of Day17.3 hours
Length of Year84 years
No. of Moons15
Gravity1.15 x Earth's

Miranda, a moon of Uranus 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. Uranus, its rings and some of its moons 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.

Planets Introduction




The Moon









Extra-Solar Planets

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Authors: Carolyn Brinkworth and Claire Thomas

Last updated: July 2001