Uranus was discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1781. The planet is actually a gas giant, composed of methane, helium and hydrogen. Its temperature hovers around -355 degrees Fahrenheit. Some scientists believe that despite the cold surface temperatures, a core about fifteen times the size of earth has a temperature of approximately 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It possesses at least five major moons, ten minor moons, and thirteen rings. Idea: Encourage children to try to develop some kind of transport that could land on the gas giant. They could learn more at: Uranus.
Voyager 2 was launched in 1977. It traveled near Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. It transmitted photographs and data back to earth. It continues in its space travels, sending back weak radio signals. Children can visit an interesting website, including data on the spacecraft’s distance from earth, at: Voyager 2
William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, the two largest moons of Uranus, in 1787. Herschel, a German-born astronomer who had moved to England, discovered Uranus in 1781. Today we know Uranus has 27 moons and a ring! Herschel named the two moons after characters in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Children can learn more about the moons of Uranus at: Moons of Uranus.
Voyager 2 sailed past Uranus in 1986. It discovered eleven new moons and two new rings. Voyager 2 collected data on one of the moons, Miranda. Miranda, named after a character in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is gouged by deep craters and sharp cliffs. Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, and it still sends back data about deep space! Idea: Children could find out how newly discovered objects in space are named. Children can learn more at: Voyager 2.