URANUS <-- click me

Mythology of Uranus

First, the name is properly pronounced oo-ra-nos. It's greek for Sky. In mythology (mythology is greek for Hollywood), Uranus was the ancient diety of the Heavens. He was both the son and the mate (ughs go here) of Gaia (who reputedly created him without help). That happens all the time. He fathered Cronos - greek for Saturn, and english for time - as in Chronometer.

You know, we don't know much about Uranus (the planet), as we've only been there once (Voyager) and that was for two or three days. You can't go anywhere for that long and say you know anything.

The only photographs we got - at the time - were - after Jupiter and Saturn - disappointing. Here is what I mean:


It looks like a bowling ball without any holes.

The Voyager Scientists were disappointed, but not with the moons of Uranus....

All named after Shakespearian characters, they, again were as different than anything else ever seen. And now remember - we are two billion miles away from Earth.

Here's Miranda from 12 miles above it's surface:

Miranda from 11 miles!!

Keep in mind that Voyager was launched only 20 years after the beginning of the Space Era. This was an amazing feat.

Before we go on to the moons, there is one very strange thing about Uranus. It rotated on its side. We don’t know why. In fact there is a lot we don’t know and that’s why we need more young people to become involved. Be an engineer, and astronaut, a scientist, a technician. There is a Career page with some ideas. But first, have a look at some of the moons of Uranus. Remember, 2 billion miles, and in the bigger sense of the universe, that, as you will see, is not very far.

OK the Uranian moons:

The King - Oberon






However, the story is not over. As scientists and engineers developed more sophisticated imaging technologies and techniques, they revisited Uranus using Hubble.

From the NASA Fact Sheet:

"Once considered one of the blander-looking planets, Uranus (pronounced YOOR un nus) has been revealed as a dynamic world with some of the brightest clouds in the outer solar system and 11 rings".

We also know that (as of today), Uranus has 27 moons.

Here's a more recent Hubble image:

Uranus Rings in UV Light

What are the bright spots on the South Pole? We don’t know. We have to go back.