Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, and the third gas giant planet.

Uranus photographed by Voyager 2 in 1986
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Facts About Uranus:

  • Uranus is the 7th planet from the Sun, the third of four gas giants, the first of two ice giants, and the 3rd largest planet in the Solar System.
  • Uranus and Neptune are composed of different chemicals to Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus and Neptune contain more ices and are sometimes called "ice giants".
  • Uranus is the only planet in the Solar System to rotate "on its side". Other planets have their axis of rotation perpendicular to the plane of the solar system (so they rotate "upright" like a spinning top) but Uranus' axis is parallel (so it rotates "facing forward" like a windmill). Scientists aren't really sure how this happened but it's likely to be the result of a catastrophic collision with another object.
  • Like all the gas giants, Uranus has planetary rings.
  • It is the only planet whose name is derived from Greek mythology rather than Roman mythology. Its moons are named after characters from Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

See also:

Classification: Planet (orbiting Sun)
Names:  Uranus, Ouranos, Sol 7, Whērangi

Discovered:  1781  by William Herschel
Naming:  "Uranus" is derived from "Ouranos", the Greek god of the sky. Uranus is the only planet named after a figure from Greek mythology, rather than Roman.
Rotation period:  -17 hrs 14 mins
Orbital Period:  30687.1500
Adjective:  Uranian