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Uranus

Uranus, god of the Sky (seventh planet from the Sun).


Uranus, father of Saturn

Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, the earliest supreme god.

Uranus, god of the Sky

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Astrological sign pictured above

Uranus was the mate of Gaia, and the father of Cronus (Saturn) and of the Cyclopes, and of the Titans (predecessors of the Olympian gods). According to some myths, he was born of Gaia; according to others, he came from nothing, or Chaos, himself. Regardless, he was the primoridial (meaning first to exist) being of the sky. Uranus's name came from (F)orsanoj, meaning "rain;" the sky was the rainmaker. Every night, Uranus visited Gaia; from him she bore many children, but he hated them all. He put them in Tartarus, a place deep inside Gaia, where they caused her pain. She made a sickle and asked her children to castrate Uranus. Cronos, the youngest, agreed to do this task for his mother. Cronos threw his father's testicles in the sea; from them sprung Aphrodite. After he castrated his father, Cronos put the Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires back into Gaia. Gaia and Uranus predicted that Cronos would be overthrown by his own son someday; in order to prevent this from happening, Cronos ate Zeus when he was born. His mother, Rhea, deceived Cronos, and Zeus was not destroyed as Cronos thought.

Scientific facts about Uranus:

Uranus, the first planet discovered in modern times, was discovered by William Herschel while systematically searching the sky with his telescope on March 13, 1781. It had actually been seen many times before but ignored as simply another star. The earliest recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri. Herschel named it “the Georgium Sidus” (the Georgian Planet) in honor of his patron, the infamous (to Americans) King George III of England; others called it “Herschel”. The name Uranus was first proposed by German astronomer Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) in conformity with the other planetary names from classical mythology, but it didn't come into common use until 1850. Herschel developed and improved a reflecting telescope and used it to discover the planet Uranus (March 13, 1781) and the moons of Uranus and of Saturn. Uranus is the third of the Gas Giant planets, and the first planet discovered in “modern” times (1781). It is also the first planet to be discovered with a telescope. It is barely visible from the Earth without a telescope, which explains why it was not known as a planet to the ancients, and why it had been observed various times after the telescope had been invented without the observers realizing that it was a planet and not a star.

Uranus has five large moons: Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. There are more than ten small satellites and at least nine rings. Altogether, Uranus has 27 natural satellites. As with most of the planets, Uranus, too, has a very unique feature. It is the only planet that does not rotate perpendicularly to the ecliptic plane. This is to say that Uranus lies on its side, or tipped over, and its north pole points almost directly toward the sun for a half Uranian year, and its south pole points toward the Sun during the other half. This strange axis tilt produces some extreme seasonal effects. No one knows why Uranus is tilted in this way. Some have speculated that another planet-sized body might have altered the planet’s spin axis, but there is no direct evidence for such an occurrence. Until the Voyager made its probe in space, Uranus was known to have only five moons. These moons are Miranda, Oberon, Titania, Umbriel and Ariel; but, more than ten small new moons were discovered within the orbit of Miranda. Uranus moons were named from Shakespeare plays and a poem written by Alexander Pope. Several of the moons are approximately 50% denser than water showing that some type of ice is present. This ice is believed to be either methane, ammonia, frozen water, or other types of compounds. All of the moons are dark gray in color which leads scientists to believe they could be covered with carbon soot or graphite.

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