It Rains Diamonds Bigger Than Grizzly Bears on Uranus, and 5 More Cool Facts About the Ice Giant

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I’m not sure that learning about space, stars, planets, and the like will ever get old or boring. Partly because we all like to dream about what’s out there, but also because we’re literally always exploring and learning new things.

If you’re curious about Uranus, the farthest planet from the sun and one of only 2 ice giants in our solar system, we’ve got 6 interesting facts below!

6. It has twelve baby rings.

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Uranus has rings, but they’re dark and foreboding, likely comprised of ice and radiation-processed organic material, and only around 600 million years old (that’s young, all things considered).

Saturn’s rings are brighter and more showy, but not nearly as spooky.

5. It’s moons are named after characters from literature.

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Uranus has 27 known moons, and each is named for a character from either William Shakespeare or Alexander Pope.

Oberon and Titania are the largest, but we’ve got plenty of others, like Juliet, Rosalind, and Bianca. The list goes on and on!

4. It rotates in a unique way.

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Most planets rotate upright, spinning like tops as they orbit the sun. Uranus, though, rolls like a ball – it spins at about a 98-degree tilt that makes a “day” there around 42 years on earth. It also rotates from east to west, the opposite of Earth.

Scientists believe the odd tilt could be the result of a major collision early in its history.

3. It’s name is unconventional.

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The only planet (aside from Earth, which was named much later) not named for a Roman god is Uranus. When the Romans were naming things they didn’t have the ability to see all the way to Uranus.

When it was discovered, scientists used the Latinized version of Saturn’s father, Ouranos – Uranus- much to the delight of young children everywhere.

2. It’s one of only two ice giants.

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Uranus and Neptune are the only planets in our solar systems that are formed from water, methane, and ammonia as opposed to hydrogen and helium (Jupiter and Saturn) or silicates and irons (Earth).

Voyager learned what molecules formed Uranus on its flyby, and scientists dubbed the two “ice giants.”

1. It rains diamonds bigger than grizzly bears.

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The switch in Uranus’s atmosphere from really cold to really hot, combined with a ton of pressure closer to the planet, creates the perfect condition for raining diamonds.

The stones are millions of carats apiece – larger than a grizzly bear – that drop into large pressurized “oceans.”

There you have it – I’m hungry for more!

Share your favorite space facts with us in the comments!