How Far is Uranus from Earth

How Far is Uranus from Earth? Facts About Uranus

In this article we are going to answer the question, how far is Uranus from Earth? Uranus is 1.6 billion miles (2.6 billion km) away from the Earth when the two are at their closest and 1.98 billion miles (3.2 billion kilometers) apart when they are farthest from each other. Both of them are always moving thus the variance in the distance between them.

How far is Uranus from the Sun?

Uranus is 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers) away from the sun on average – about 19 Astronomical Units (AU). One AU is the distance between Earth and the sun. Since its orbit is elliptical, the distance between Uranus and the sun varies between 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion kilometers) when it is nearest to the sun, and 1.9 billion miles (3 billion kilometers) when it is farthest from the sun.
Uranus completes one orbit every 84 Earth years.

How long does it take light to travel to Uranus?

Sunlight takes 2 hours 39 minutes to reach Uranus. Light takes 2 hours and 47 minutes to travel from Uranus to Earth. It takes longer for light from Uranus to reach us than it takes sunlight to reach the planet because the reflected light is weaker.

What are the diameter and circumference of Uranus?

Uranus is a large planet, about 4 times that of Earth:

Uranus: 31,763 miles (51,118 kilometers) diameter and 99,786 miles (160,590 kilometers) circumference.
Earth: 7,918 miles (12,742 kilometers) diameter and 24,901 miles (40,074 kilometers) circumference.

How long would it take to travel to Uranus?

When traveling to another planet, you don’t just take the shortest route between them. To use less fuel, you can use the gravitational forces of other celestial bodies to propel the spacecraft. As such, the path to a planet like Uranus can take longer than you’d expect.

Voyager 2 is the only vessel that has reached Uranus. It took a little faster than 10 years to reach it. New Horizons was too far from Uranus when it encountered its orbit.

What would you find when you get to Uranus?

Uranus is visible to the naked eye as a tiny spot in the night sky, but you’ll have an easier time observing it using a telescope. It was the first planet to be discovered using a telescope.

Photos taken by satellites show a planet that has a cyan color. The color is attributed to Methane within its atmosphere because it absorbs red light from the sun leaving us to see the blue light.

This ice giant was named after the Greek god Ouranos. Uranus and Neptune are considered ice giants. They are believed to be different from Saturn and Jupiter in composition because they are cooler

The Atmosphere:

The atmosphere of Uranus has Hydrogen (82.5%), Helium (15.2%), and Methane (2.3%). The mantle comprises of ice, frozen methane, ammonia, and other trace elements.

The core is thought to be made up of magnesium silicate and iron (similar to Neptune) – a departure from the core of an ordinary gas giant.

The Seasons:

Uranus’ axis has a tilt of about 97.77 degrees. The dramatic tilt is unlike any other planet in the solar system. It is believed to have been caused by a collision with an Earth-sized body a long time ago. As a result of this unusual tilt, each of its seasons last about 21 years.

The sun shines directly on the poles causing a long summer on the exposed pole while the hidden pole experiences a long winter. The summers and winters on the ice giant are unlike what we witness on Earth. For example, the North Pole sees 21 years of winter in the dark, 21 years of summer in the sun and another 42 years of Spring and Autumn.

The magnetic field axis tilts by around 60 degrees from the planet’s axis. This is extraordinary because other planets usually have their magnetic field axis nearly aligned with the planet’s axis (with the exception of Neptune because it also has a dramatically tilted Magnetic field axis too). Uranus’ auroras, therefore, do not appear at the poles like the ones we witness on Earth.

Uranus completes one rotation about its axis in 17 hours and 14 minutes. Like Venus, it spins in the opposite direction to how all the other planets spin.

Uranus has the lowest temperature recorded on a planet even though it is not the farthest from the sun (Neptune is farther). The reason for the cold atmosphere is the fact that the planet does not generate enough of its own heat to augment the little light that reaches it from the sun.

The core is made of rock rather than gas. It has temperatures of up to 8,540 degrees Fahrenheit (4,727 Celsius) – very cold compared to other gas giants. The clouds have a temperature ranging from -243 F (-153 C) to -370 degrees Fahrenheit (-218 Celsius).

The Terrain:

Uranus does not have terrain or a firm surface for that matter.

How many moons does Uranus have?

There are up to 27 recorded moons orbiting around Uranus. They are named after characters from Alexander Pope’s and William Shakespeare’s works.

The largest ones are Titania and Oberon. Others include Umbriel, Ariel, Miranda, Juliet, Cordelia, Puck, Ophelia, Desdemona, Bianca, Rosalind, Portia, Belinda, and Cressida.

The moons are mostly made up of ice and rock. Miranda has terraces, ice canyons, and other interesting features on its surface.

The Rings of Uranus

The rings around Uranus are thought to have aggregated from broken up pieces of moons that collided a long time ago. The particles that make up the rings have sizes varying from dust-sized pellets to boulder-sized rocks.

There are two sets of rings. There are eleven rings in the inner group and two rings in the outer set. The inner rings are all narrow and dark while the outer two are bright; one blue, one red.

Is there water on Uranus?

There is frozen water making up a part of the atmosphere of the planet. However, it doesn’t mean that we can inhabit the planet.

How much would you weigh on Uranus?

Uranus has a mass that is 14.5 times that of Earth. However, it is the planet that has the second lowest density in the solar system – the first is Saturn. The gravity of Uranus is 0.86 as strong as Earth’s, an interesting fact considering its mass. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds here, you would weigh 86 pounds on Uranus.

Man’s Missions to Uranus

Voyager 2 , sent by NASA, is the only spacecraft that has successfully flown by Uranus. It helped scientists discover more moons than were visible using telescopes. It also gave us more insight into the unusual magnetic axis. Scientists are interested in studying the deeper atmospheres of Uranus as well as its moons.

Additional Readings

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