Uranus and Neptune

The two planets are being discussed together because they have lot of similarities and the most tangible one to us is that they are the two planets we know so little about considering what we know about the other planets.

Basic Facts about Uranus and Neptune

  • As earlier stated, they are the two least studied planet and not because of our laziness but because the are far away and are invisible to the eyes from our own planet
  • Voyager 2 is the only probe to have flown past the two planets and that was in the late 1980s
  • The two planets are almost of the same size with Uranus being 50,144 km in diameter while Neptune is 49,243 km in diameter. The are a way bigger than Earth though as our planet is only 12,742 kn in diameter
  • They have a huge mass just like you will expect from gaseous planets, If the mass of Earth is taken as 1, then Neptune measures 14.5 Earth masses while Neptune measures 17 Earth masses
  • The two planets have the same gas breakdown. Their upper atmosphere is dominated by Helium and Hydrogen gas with a lot of methane gas which scientist believe is responsible for their blueish colour this is because methane absorbs the red end of the sunlight spectrum and reflects the blue end
  • Going towards he core you will notice a layer of Water, Ammonia and Methane ices this is in its mantle which is over 1000 degree C in temperature, with that type of temperature it is only natural that an ice or liquid never exist in that layer but those matter exist as an ice and liquid because the pressure is as high as the temperature and you will already know the law that increase in pressure leads to an increase in boiling point, so with enough pressure, the matters there are not at their boiling point and not even warming up
Uranus and Neptune Structure
  • Both planets are gaseous planets without a surface, this means that they have no rocky or sandy surface like Earth that can be walked on, rather they are just gases

Some Basic differences between the two planets


  • The first difference is an obvious one that you will feel shouldn’t be mentioned, but I have to, because I cannot have claimed to do a planet tour without giving their distance and orbit.
  • Uranus is more than 2.8 Billion km from the sun and complete a revolution around the Sun in 84 Earth years.
  • It is also the coldest planet in the solar system (that is after deleting Pluto from the list of planets though) even though it is not the farthest from the Sun with average temperature on the planet getting to (-224 C) wow!!! This phenomenon is caused by the fact that Uranium don’t generate much heat of its own
  • After the temperature stated above you may feel, “well, that is for its winter season, lets see how hot it gets to in the summer” But I will have to disappoint you; Seasons don’t really change o Uranus, in fact not at all, The change in season on Earth is greatly caused by the fact that our Planet tilts aver now and then causing all the Equinox and Solstice but that is not the case with Uranus, thanks to the weirdest rotational axis of this planet, that takes us to the next point
  • While the general notation of Earth is that it rotates on its southern hemisphere, where we will have it that areas like the Antarctic is at the bottom of the Earth and experience little Sun making it extremely cold and areas like the Arctic, Greenland are at the top while Areas like the Middle East, India Brazil and Middle Africa are at the middle of the Earth and experience most Sun making them hot, Uranus however, is permanently tilted to its side for up to 98 degrees, so it is like rolling on its side. This causes one of its North and South pole face the Sun directly
  • for 42 years at a time. Astronomers believe this weird tilt was caused by a collision with another planet some billions of years ago. This is the reason for its weather pattern too.
Rotation of Uranus on its sides, it tilts for up to 98 D
Uranus tilt
  • There are however a lot of storms raging on the planet, Images from Keck Observatory using infrared imaging and also from the Hubble telescope showed giant storms raging through the planet’s Northern hemisphere
Uranus storm


  • Neptune is 4.5 Billion km from the Sun
  • It only receives 40% as much Sunlight as Uranium does. This will make you think it should be the coldest planet; i’ll have to disappoint you again; Unlike Uranium, Neptune has extreme weather conditions on it, with winds of up to 2,100 km per hour which is the fastest ever found on any planet, not even Jupiter or Mars have winds that fast. Neptune also have storms that rage on for months and even years. Scientist believe that the extreme weather is caused by the plenty of heat fro the planet’s core
  • Its average temperature is (-218 C) making it the second coldest planet

That is a basic understanding of our two farthest planets in the solar system, feel free to comment on more attribute =s that may have been omitted in the article

Author: Oyetunji

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