Lissauer, Jack J. Space Science and Astrobiology Division, Planetary Systems Branch, Ames Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Moffett Field, California.
Marley, Mark S. Space Science and Astrobiology Division, Planetary Systems Branch, Ames Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Moffett Field, California.
Last reviewed:March 2019
Show previous versions
- Obliquity and seasonality
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The first planet to be discovered with the telescope and the seventh in order of distance from the Sun. Uranus is the farthest planet from Earth that can be spotted with the naked eye. Along with Neptune, it is one of two "ice giants" in our solar system. Ice giants are large worlds composed mostly of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, in distinction to gas giants, such as Jupiter and Saturn, whose compositions are dominated by this pair of light elements. Only a single spacecraft, Voyager 2, has visited Uranus. The space probe flew by in early 1986, making its closest pass on January 24, coming within a distance of 81,500 km (50,600 mi) to the world's cloudtops. Voyager 2 obtained the most detailed images of the planet to date (Fig. 1). Remarkable features of Uranus include the lack of an internal heat source, a system of thin rings, and high obliquity, or axial tilt, with the planet spinning on its axis perpendicularly to its orbital path. See Table 1 for planetary and orbital characteristics of Uranus. See also: Astronomy; Earth; Eye (vertebrate); Jupiter; Neptune; Planet; Saturn; Space probe; Solar system
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information