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February 28, 2018 Wednesday 04:21:05 PM IST

Weather updates from Uranus

Science Innovations

28th February, 2018: Uranus (discovered in 1781) possesses the coldest atmosphere of any of the planets in the solar system, even though it is not the most distant. It is known as the “ice giant,” even as it is made of gases like hydrogen, helium and methane. These gases are found in the layered atmosphere of Uranus.

The least temperature measured is minus 218 degrees Celsius, which makes the atmosphere of Uranus as the coldest one in the entire solar system.

The equator of Uranus is not pointed in the direction of the sun, which is likely to be caused by a collision soon after the formation of the satellite. The planet faces one pole at a time towards the sun, which spins over the course of time to show other pole to the sun.

Interestingly enough, the warmth of the planet is derived from within, rather than that from the sun, the lonely star of solar system. The interior of the planet is hot enough to manage its weather, almost independent of the energy from the sun, which is quite far away. The temperature at the core of Uranus is about 4.727 degrees Celsius. In contrast, Jupiter has a core temperature of about 24,000 degrees Celsius. In other words, it has a cooler heart than Jupiter!

A year of Uranus is equivalent to 84 Earth-years, with each seasons lasting for 21 Earth-years. This also means that the south pole of Uranus would not see sunlight for about 44 years!