It’s Uranus Day! On March 13th, 1781 the astronomer William Herschel announced that he’d discovered the previously unknown planet that would be named Uranus. Uranus had been seen before, even by ancient astronomers, but everyone thought it was just a faint star until Herschel turned his telescope toward it and took a good, clear look at Uranus. The addition of Uranus helped expand the solar system and people have been intrigued and puzzled by Uranus ever since. It’s not the biggest planet in the solar system or even the farthest but, as the third largest of the gas giants, Uranus is still pretty big, full of hydrogen and helium. There are twenty-seven known moons orbiting it and there are even rings around Uranus, although they’re faint and set at an odd angle.
It takes Uranus eighty-four Earth years to orbit the sun, and yet a day on Uranus is just a little over seventeen hours. Uranus spins really fast!
That’s all about the planet Uranus. I’d now like to focus on the town of Uranus, along the historic Route 66. More of a tourist attraction than a small town it’s really home to a lot of fun attractions. The world’s biggest belt buckle is there–it’s more than ten feet tall and would probably fit a pair of pants just big enough to hold all of Uranus. There’s a whole weird collection of attractions including the fudge factory and the Sideshow Museum. It just seems like a fun and interesting place that makes Uranus worth a look.
In 5th Grade, we had to make 3D models of the solar system. I honestly think my teacher was getting a kickback from the styrofoam ball manufacturers, but I’ll never forget the day I brought mine in and it started falling apart. It allowed me to say, “Miss Fogarty, Uranus fell off and rolled under a car!”
That might have been my best day of 5th grade.
That is absolutely the best possible moment. As for me, well, it wasn’t until somewhere around 7th grade that I finally figured out why “Uranus” is funny. I’m making up for lost time.
I love how you’re always happy to talk about Uranus. When I was teaching grade 9 mythology, I used to always quip “And now it’s time to discuss Uranus.” Fortunately, they were (usually) too young to get it:-)
I had a teacher when I was seven or eight who was very interested in space and taught us a lot about astronomy but she always tried to get us to pronounce “Uranus” differently. I didn’t understand why. Years later I figured it out and now I’m making up for lost time. I do think it’s cool, though, that it was a planet whose discovery we actually have a record of.
Will you forgive me for overlooking Uranus this year, Chris?
Fortunately Uranus is always there any time you want to look for it.