Planet Uranus Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

What is that weird planet in the solar system that lays on its side? It's Uranus, a gas giant planet, sometimes called an ice giant. This lesson will teach you some pretty cool facts about this greenish planet.

What is Uranus Like?

Uranus is a gas giant planet that orbits in the outer solar system. It's a blue-green color because it's made mostly of a gas called methane. Uranus is the 3rd largest planet in our solar system and is the 7th planet from the sun. It's way out there, too. Uranus orbits nearly 1.8 billion miles from the sun and takes 84 years to revolve around the sun once. That's a pretty long year. It would be like having a birthday party with your friends, but then having to wait another 30,660 days until you got to have another birthday celebration! Even though a year is super long on Uranus, each day is shorter than Earth's. It takes Uranus almost 18 hours to rotate on its axis. Uranus is very big compared to Earth. The diameter of Uranus is almost 32 thousand miles, while Earth's diameter is only about 8 thousand miles.

The Earth compared to Uranus
Earth compared to uranus

Uranus Has an Odd Rotation

Think about how planets spin on their axis. You should be imagining them spinning like a basketball player spins a ball on their finger. But Uranus is a bit of a weirdo. It spins on its side, just like if you were to roll the same ball across the floor. Astronomers think that something huge hit Uranus long ago and hit it so hard that it caused the planet to roll instead of spin.

Uranus rolls on its axis and so does its rings
Uranus Rings

You probably know that the planet Saturn has rings, but did you know that Uranus does too? But Uranus's rings are made of dark material, so they don't shine and glow like Saturn's do. The rings also rotate in a rolling position to match the orbit of the planet. The rings are vertical compared to the planet, unlike Saturn's, which are horizontal.

Cool Facts about Uranus

  • Uranus has 27 moons and many of them are named after characters from William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Uranus has 27 moons; these are the 6 largest named Puck, Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon
Uranus Moons

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