A full disk view of Uranus against the darkness of space.


The first planet discovered with the aid of a telescope.






All About Uranus

Uranus is about four times wider than Earth.

Illustration showing scale of all four giant planet. Jupiter is largest followed by Saturn. Uranus and Neptune are similar in size.

Uranus is about 19.8 AU from the Sun. Earth = 1.

This view of pale blue-green Uranus was recorded by NASA Voyager 2 on Jan 25, 1986, as the spacecraft left the planet behind. The thin crescent of Uranus is seen here between the spacecraft, the planet and the Sun.

It takes Uranus 84 Earth years to make a trip around the Sun.

Uranus is mostly a mass of "icy" fluid around a rocky core.

Processing brings out Uranus atmosphere in this image taken by NASA Voyager 2.

Atmosphere: molecular hydrogen and atomic helium with a bit of methane.

Drawing of William Shakespeare.

Uranus' 27 moons are named for characters in literature.

Diagram showing Uranus in the center, with its rings and moons circling.

Inner rings are dark; outer rings are brightly colored.

Voyager spacecraft icon

NASA's Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to visit Uranus.


Uranus cannot support life as we know it.


Uranus is the only planet that rotates on its side.

Planet Uranus Overview

Uranus is very cold and windy. It is surrounded by faint rings and more than two dozen small moons as it rotates at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This unique tilt makes Uranus appear to spin on its side.

Uranus is blue-green in color due to large amounts of methane, which absorbs red light but allows blues to be reflected back into space. The atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium, but also includes large amounts of water, ammonia and methane.

Astronomer William Herschel tried unsuccessfully to name his discovery Georgium Sidus after his patron, English king George III. Instead, the planet was eventually named for Uranus, the Greek god of the sky, who was also the father of Kronos (or Saturn in Roman mythology).

Eyes on the Solar System lets you explore the planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and the spacecraft exploring them from 1950 to 2050. Ride with the Curiosity Rover as it lands on Mars or fly by Pluto with the New Horizons spacecraft all from the comfort of your home computer.

Pop Culture

Uranus is the source of more than a few jokes, and witty – and not so witty – puns. But the ice giant also has been a serious destination various fictional stories, and on TV shows such as "Doctor Who." The radioactive element uranium was named after Uranus when it was discovered in 1789, just eight years after the planet was discovered.

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