The seventh planet from the sun with the third largest diameter in our solar system, Uranus is very cold and windy. The ice giant is surrounded by 13 faint rings and 27 small moons as it rotates at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This unique tilt makes Uranus appear to spin on its side, orbiting the sun like a rolling ball.
Size comparison of Earth and Uranus
Voyager 2 departs a crescent Uranus on January 25, 1986, here seen from a range of 600,000 miles.
Inside gas giant Uranus
This diagram shows how the inclination of orbits of Uranus' moons have appeared increasingly more oblique over the past 12 years due to Uranus's orbit about the Sun. Hubble Space Telescope has been watching Uranus over that period and has traced, in detail, our changing view of the planet. Uranus is tilted so that its spin axis lies nearly in its orbital plane. This means that only around the time when Uranus's equator is aimed at the Sun (every 42 years) do the orbits of its satellites lie edge-on to the Sun, allowing their shadows to strike the planet, producing solar eclipses on the planet.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures a rare view of the entire ring system of the planet Uranus, tilted edge-on to Earth. The rings were photographed with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on August 14, 2007.
The gas giant planet Uranus is a world of strangeness. It is knocked on its side, giving it an extreme tilt. It has gossamer rings and a network of moons.
This view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft features a blue planet, but unlike the view from July 19, 2013, that featured Earth, this blue orb is Uranus, imaged by Cassini for the first time. Image released May 1, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Uranus moons and rings
The two sides of the planet Uranus, as viewed in this composite image by the Keck II Telescope at near infrared wavelengths. The bright splotches are clouds.
A never-before-seen image of an astronomical alignment of a Uranian moon, Ariel, as it traverses the face of the giant gas planet.
This illustrates the relative sizes of Uranus, Earth and Earth's Moon. The images are shown at the proper relative size, but not the correct relative distance from each other. Uranus is approximately 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) in diameter, or about four times the size of Earth. The Earth is approximately 7,900 miles (12,800 kilometers) in diameter, or about four times the diameter of the Moon, 2,100 miles (3,500 kilometers).
Uranus and its five major moons are depicted in this montage of images acquired by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The moons, from largest to smallest as they appear here, are Ariel, Miranda, Titania, Oberon and Umbriel.