Astronomy Essay

1081 words - 4 pages

Our planet Uranus. Uranus is the seventh planet of our solar system. Uranus is the mysterious blue planet that circles the sun, far from the Earth. A man named William Herschel first discovered this mysterious planet in 1781, he was a German musician living in England who had a great interest in Astronomy. He believed the sky held secrets he wanted to know. He couldn't afford to buy a big telescope, so he made his own. One night in March 1781, Herschel was studying constellations of Gemini. He spotted by accident a blue-green dot. He studied it for several nights and he realized that it was moving very slowly across the sky. Herschel believed that he found a new comet. As the word of his discovery spread, professional astronomers measured the distance to the object and decided it was too far away to be a comet. It must be a planet instead. The new planet was twice as far from the sun as Saturn. This mysterious planet got its name from the tradition held. Like the six other planets, it was named for a god in Greek mythology. So it was named after the goddess that gives life. Because it orbited just beyond Saturn and was named Uranus for the god of the sky who furthered Saturn. Uranus is the third largest planet in our solar system. It is huge compared to Earth. Its diameter is 31,764 miles, which makes it about four times the size of Earth. Like all the other giant planets in out solar system, Uranus is made of a swirl of gases, liquids and solids. It has no solid surface to stand on. The solids are mostly silicon, iron, and basalt like rock. The center of Uranus is a solid core about the size of Earth. At the outer edge of the core, are the solid elements mix with the great ocean that surrounds the rocky heart of the planet. This ocean is about 5,000 miles deep. The deepest parts of the Earths oceans are only about seven miles deep. Scientists think Uranus' ocean is mostly water mixed with a bit of liquid ammonia and methane. The thing that we thought was amazing was about Uranus' oceans; they are extremely hot, as hot as 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists think icy comets that got caught and absorbed by Uranus formed the ocean. The force of the comets hitting Uranus was so great it caused them to melt. The atmosphere of Uranus is made up mainly of hydrogen and helium gases, with a small amount of methane. The methane gives Uranus its green-blue color. That's because methane absorbs most of the sunlight's colors, leaving a bluish-green light to reflect back into space. The upper atmosphere is cloudy and very active or turbulent. Strong winds blow the blue-green gas around the planet. Near the planets equator, winds have been clocked at speeds of nearly 650 miles per hour. Around Uranus' south pole the atmosphere has an odd appearance. Sunlight is reacting with chemicals there to create what looks like smog. So Uranus is basically a very cloudy atmosphere. The funny thing about Uranus is that the planet is tipped on its side. It does not rotate...

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