Uranus [ yoor-ah-ness ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB1k12Dao1w

By Lenna Coats

Uranus is one of the few planets that can be seen with out a telescope and one of the first planets to be discovered. Uranus has a lot more going on than originally thought, . Uranus has 27 named moons and is a giant ball of methane ice. Astronomers have learned a lot about the unique behaviors of Uranus. They have discovered that there are bands of clouds that blow around rapidly, that there are seasons on Uranus, and that in 2007 the sun was directly over the Uranus equator. So, sit back and enjoy the journey through time as you discover Uranus with us, also please share with your children or the children around the wonders of the planet Uranus.
http://www.kidsastronomy.com/uranus.htm

Discovery

Universe Today

http://www.universetoday.com/18886/discovery-of-uranus/
Sir William Herschel
Sir William Herschel

Photo Courtesy of UniverseToday.com

Discovery of Uranus

by Frasier Cain on September 30, 2008
If you’ve got really good eyesight and amazingly dark skies, you can see Uranus without a telescope. It’s only possible with the right conditions, and if you know exactly where to look. Since it’s possible to see Uranus with the unaided eye, it’s amazing that it went undiscovered for almost all of human history. Uranus was only discovered in March 1781 by Sir William Herschel.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. There were several observations of Uranus before that, but in every case, it was mistaken as a star since it moves so slowly in the sky. The first recorded sighting was in 1690 by John Flamsteed, who spotted it at least 6 times. He cataloged it as the star 34 Tauri. The French astronomer Pierre Lemonnier also observed Uranus between 1750 and 1769. And so, on March 13, 1781, the British astronomer William Herschel was surveying the sky with his telescope, looking for binary stars. He noticed a fuzzy disk in his telescope, and suspected that it might be a comet. Over a few nights he realized that it was moving against the background stars, but it was moving too slowly to be a comet. After doing the calculations, Herschel realized that he was looking at a new planet, the farthest ever seen from the Sun. Herschel’s original plan was to name this new planet after King George III of England. But in the end, British astronomers decided to name the new planet Uranus, after the father of Saturn in Roman mythology.

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

Article is up to date and accurate. Conforms with other reputable sites.
http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/groundup/lesson/scopes/herschel/discovery.php
http://airandspace.si.edu/etp/discovery/disc_planets.html
http://www.astronomycast.com/2007/11/episode-62-uranus/
http://www.solarviews.com/eng/uranus.htm

Readability and Clarity

This article is easy to read and is appropriately written for adults interested in Astronomy.
Flesch Reading Ease: 52.9

Ease of Navigation

This is a great site for doing research it provides a lot of links that are part of the site giving you an in depth look at Uranus. The site also provides links to external sites that allow you to research the topic deeper.

Who was Uranus?

Encyclopedia Mythica

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/u/uranus.html
external image uranos.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Kusadasi.tv

Uranus

by Ron Leadbetter on March 3, 1997; Revised on December 5, 1999
Uranus, also known as Ouranos, was the embodiment of the sky or heavens, and known as the god of the sky. He was the first son of Gaia (the earth) and he also became her husband. According to Hesiod, their children included the Titans: six sons and six daughters. There were other offspring: the Cyclopes, (known as "one eyed giants"), and also the three monsters known as the Hecatonchires, who each had one hundred hands and fifty heads... Uranus was aghast by the sight of his offspring, the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. (In a differing version Uranus was frightened of their great strength and the fact that they could easily depose him). He hid them away in Tartarus (the bowels of the earth) inside Gaia, causing her intense pain. The discomfort became so great that she asked her youngest son, Cronus, to castrate his father, as this would cease his fertility and put an end to more monstrous offspring. To accomplish this deed Gaia made an adamantine sickle, which she gave to Cronus. That night Uranus came to lay with Gaia. And as the sky god drew close, Cronus struck with the sickle and cut off Uranus' genitals. From the blood that fell from the open wound were born nymphs and giants, and when Cronus threw the severed genitals into the sea white foam appeared. From this foam Aphrodite, the goddess of love and desire, was born... After Uranus (the sky) had been emasculated, the sky separated from Gaia (the earth) and Cronus became king of the gods.

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

Article is up to date and accurate. Conforms with other reputable sites.
http://www.kusadasi.tv/greek-gods-uranus.html
http://www.universetoday.com/18958/name-of-uranus/
http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Ouranos.html
http://www.greek-gods.info/titans/uranus/

Readability and Clarity

This article is easy to read and is appropriately written for adults interested in Greek and Roman mythology.
Flesh Reading Scale: 68.1

Ease of Navigation

This site is great for learning and exploring greek mythology. The site has a lot of mythological jargon. It has many internal links that allow you to get an indepth knowledge of other mythological creatures, but there aren't external links to check outside information.

Visiting Probes

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/science/uranus.html
external image KSC-77P-0210.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Kennedy Space Center Archive

Uranus

Site Manager: Andrea Angrum; Article last updated October 18, 2010
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew closely past distant Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, in January 1986. At its closest, the spacecraft came within 81,500 kilometers (50,600 miles) of Uranus's cloud tops on Jan. 24, 1986. Voyager 2 radioed thousands of images and voluminous amounts of other scientific data on the planet, its moons, rings, atmosphere, interior and the magnetic environment surrounding Uranus. Since launch on Aug. 20, 1977, Voyager 2's itinerary has taken the spacecraft to Jupiter in July 1979, Saturn in August 1981, and then Uranus. Voyager 2's next encounter was with Neptune in August 1989. Both Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, will eventually leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. Voyager 2's images of the five largest moons around Uranus revealed complex surfaces indicative of varying geologic pasts. The cameras also detected 10 previously unseen moons. Several instruments studied the ring system, uncovering the fine detail of the previously known rings and two newly detected rings. Voyager data showed that the planet's rate of rotation is 17 hours, 14 minutes. The spacecraft also found a Uranian magnetic field that is both large and unusual. In addition, the temperature of the equatorial region, which receives less sunlight over a Uranian year, is nevertheless about the same as that at the poles.

Date reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

This site is very reliable; it is a branch from NASA and directly connected to the CIT: California Institute of Technology. All of the content conform with other trustworthy and reliable sources.
http://images.ksc.nasa.gov/photos/1977/captions/KSC-77P-0210.html
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1977-076A
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=vayager%202&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CEUQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvoyager.jpl.nasa.gov%2Fwhere%2Findex.html&ei=wnbGUO2SIMjUyQHQiYDAAQ&usg=AFQjCNEIQsnJ4uyToA8oC1DUOnJSayVXCA

Readability and Clarity

This article is directed toward Astronomy students, astronomy advocates, and NASA followers, it's evident by some of the vocabulary used.
Flesh Reading Scale: 23.5

Ease of Navigation

The article is a comprehensive summary of the Voyager 2 expidition. There are many internal and external links on this site that allow the reader to continue their research.

Measurements and Distances

Nine Planets

http://nineplanets.org/uranus.html
external image uranus_voy2.gif
Photo Courtesy of NSSDC Photo Gallery

Uranus

Registered Owner: Domain Brothers Ltd.; Site last updated April 2, 2012
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the third largest (by diameter). Uranus is larger in diameter but smaller in mass than Neptune.
Orbit: 2,870,990,000 km (19.218 AU) from Sun
Diameter: 51,118 km (equatorial)
Mass: 8.683x1025 kg

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

These sites have information that conforms with other reliable sources, especially NASA.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/uranusfact.html
http://www.universetoday.com/18951/size-of-uranus/
http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.3473
http://www.space.com/45-uranus-seventh-planet-in-earths-solar-system-was-first-discovered-planet.html

Readability and Clarity

Data on this site is very technical. The data and content are clear and readability as well as straightforward, best suited for high school students and beyond.
Flesh Reading Scale: 55.4

Ease of Navigation

The web site is very well organized and has several internal links to expand your research. There are also external links that offer further research.

Rings and Moons

Windows to the Universe

http://www.windows2universe.org/uranus/moons_and_rings.html
external image 507px-Uranian_rings_scheme.png
Photo Courtesy of Scientific Explorer (Science Mom Blog)

Uranus' Moons and Rings

by Randy Russell; Last updated May 5, 2003
Uranus has 27 fascinating moons and a complicated ring system. The ring system is a completely different form of ring system than the one found around Saturn or Jupiter. At Uranus there is a very obvious partial ring, or "ring arc". Many moons are icy moons with fascinating surface features. These icy moons have no atmosphere or magnetosphere. The interiors of these moons are not active, and there is not much possibility for life. The moons are, in order; Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Belinda, and Puck. These moons are part of a group called the "Small Moons". Icy moons of Uranus are; Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, Caliban, and Sycorax. In 1999, four more Uranian moons were found. They include Prospero, Setebos, Stephano and 1986 U 10.

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

I found the information provided on this site to coincides with the information provided by other reputable sites.
http://sciexplorer.blogspot.com/2011/08/our-solar-system-part-9-uranus.html
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/Uranus_ring.html
http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Uranus&Display=Moons
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/uranus/

Readability and Clarity

This article is clear and easily read and followed by anyone with a middle school, high school, and high ed students.
Flesh Reading Scale: 46.8

Ease of Navigation

This site has an abundance of internal links including many photos and more information. It is a great resource for more information on all topics of the Universe.

Unique Fact

Universe Today

http://www.universetoday.com/19305/seasons-on-uranus/
external image uranusorbit.png
Photo Courtesy of Universe Today

Seasons on Uranus

by Frasier Cain on October 8, 2008
Uranus is one of the strangest planets in the Solar System. Something huge smashed into the planet billions of years ago and knocked it over on its side. While the other planets look like spinning tops as they make their journey around the Sun, Uranus is flipped on its side, and appears to be rolling around the Sun. And this has a dramatic effect on the seasons on Uranus.
The Earth’s tilt gives us our seasons. When the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, that’s summer. And when it’s tilted away from the Sun, that’s winter for the northern hemisphere. But on Uranus, one hemisphere is pointed towards the Sun, and the other is pointed away. The position of the poles slowly reverse until, half a Uranian year later, it’s the opposite situation. In other words, summer for the northern hemisphere lasts 42 years long, followed by 42 years of winter. The Earth’s tilt gives us our seasons. When the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, that’s summer. And when it’s tilted away from the Sun, that’s winter for the northern hemisphere. But on Uranus, one hemisphere is pointed towards the Sun, and the other is pointed away. The position of the poles slowly reverse until, half a Uranian year later, it’s the opposite situation. In other words, summer for the northern hemisphere lasts 42 years long, followed by 42 years of winter. If you could stand at the north pole of Uranus (you can’t, you’d sink right in), you would see the Sun appear on the horizon, circle higher and higher for 21 years and then circle back down to the horizon over the course of another 21 years. Once the Sun went below the horizon, you would experience another 42 years of darkness before the Sun appeared again. You would expect this bizarre configuration to give Uranus wild seasons; the day side faces the Sun and the atmosphere never rotates to the night side to cool down. The night side is in darkness, and the atmosphere never gets a chance to warm up. As the Sun first shines on a region that was cold and dark for years, it heats it up, generating powerful storms in the atmosphere of Uranus. Early observers reported seeing bands of cloud on Uranus through their telescopes, but when NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft arrived, it was blue and featureless. It might be that the changing seasons will bring the storms back to Uranus.

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2012

Reviewed by: Lenna Coats

Accuracy

All of the information contained in this article is backed by information found at other reputable sites.
http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Uranus&Display=OverviewLong
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/111010-uranus-planets-tilted-impact-double-blows-moons-space-science
http://www.knowswhy.com/why-does-uranus-spin-on-its-side/
http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/uranus-article/

Readability and Clarity

This article is easy to read for anyone with a high school education, or more. It is a throrough explanation of Uranus's axial tilt.
Flesh Reading Scale: 64.5

Ease of Navigation

This site is easly navigated and provides a thorough amount of content on Uranus, as well as the entire Universe. Due to the abundance of ads, it can get a little frustrating waiting for pages to load. There are many internal links as well as external links.