The Peculiar Planet Known as Uranus

The favorite planet of every middle school boy, right? While astronomers pronounce the planet’s name with the accent on the first syllable, the planet gets a lot of giggles at the expense of the many who place the accent on the second syllable.

But, for a moment, let’s move beyond the planet’s name and try to wrap our mind around it’s planetary context.

First of all, it’s pretty darn big. If earth was the size of a nickel, Uranus would be about the size of a softball.

Second, Uranus orbits the sun on its “side”.  Unlike earth, its North Pole points toward the sun.

Third, did you know Uranus, like Saturn, has rings? They’re not as visible due to not being near as colorful as Saturn’s rings.

Lastly, the planet is an average of 1.8 billion miles from earth. (I say “average” because earth’s and Uranus’ orbits are elliptical rather than perfectly circular.) To help put 1.8 billion miles into perspective, consider that the satellite, Voyager 2, was launched into space in 1977. Traveling 35,000 mph, it still took just under ten years to reach Uranus.

What an amazing universe God has given us to marvel at.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands.
Day after day pours forth speech,
And night after night reveals knowledge. – Psalm 19:1-2

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick