Uranus, god of the Sky (seventh planet from the Sun).
Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, the earliest supreme god.
Astrological sign pictured above
Uranus was the mate of Gaia, and the father of Cronus (Saturn) and of the Cyclopes, and of the Titans (predecessors
of the Olympian gods). According to some myths, he was born of Gaia; according to
others, he came from nothing, or Chaos, himself. Regardless, he was the primoridial
(meaning first to exist) being of the sky. Uranus’s name came from (F)orsanoj, meaning
“rain;” the sky was the rainmaker. Every night, Uranus visited Gaia; from him she
bore many children, but he hated them all. He put them in Tartarus, a place deep
inside Gaia, where they caused her pain. She made a sickle and asked her children
to castrate Uranus. Cronos, the youngest, agreed to do this task for his mother.
Cronos threw his father’s testicles in the sea; from them sprung Aphrodite. After he castrated his father, Cronos put the
Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires back into Gaia. Gaia and Uranus predicted that Cronos
would be overthrown by his own son someday; in order to prevent this from happening,
Cronos ate Zeus when
he was born. His mother, Rhea, deceived Cronos, and Zeus was not destroyed as Cronos
Scientific facts about Uranus:
Uranus, the first planet discovered in modern times, was discovered by William Herschel
while systematically searching the sky with his telescope on March 13, 1781. It
had actually been seen many times before but ignored as simply another star. The
earliest recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri.
Herschel named it “the Georgium Sidus” (the Georgian Planet) in honor
of his patron, the infamous (to Americans) King George III of England; others called
it “Herschel”. The name Uranus was first proposed by German astronomer
Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) in conformity with the other planetary names from
classical mythology, but it didn’t come into common use until 1850. Herschel developed
and improved a reflecting telescope and used it to discover the planet Uranus (March
13, 1781) and the moons of Uranus and of Saturn. Uranus is the third of the Gas
Giant planets, and the first planet discovered in “modern” times (1781).
It is also the first planet to be discovered with a telescope. It is barely visible
from the Earth without a telescope, which explains why it was not known as a planet
to the ancients, and why it had been observed various times after the telescope
had been invented without the observers realizing that it was a planet and not a
Uranus has five large moons: Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. There
are more than ten small satellites and at least nine rings. Altogether, Uranus has
27 natural satellites. As with most of the planets, Uranus, too, has a very unique
feature. It is the only planet that does not rotate perpendicularly to the ecliptic
plane. This is to say that Uranus lies on its side, or tipped over, and its north
pole points almost directly toward the sun for a half Uranian year, and its south
pole points toward the Sun during the other half. This strange axis tilt produces
some extreme seasonal effects. No one knows why Uranus is tilted in this way. Some
have speculated that another planet-sized body might have altered the planet’s
spin axis, but there is no direct evidence for such an occurrence. Until the Voyager made its probe in space, Uranus was known to
have only five moons. These moons are Miranda, Oberon, Titania, Umbriel and Ariel;
but, more than ten small new moons were discovered within the orbit of Miranda.
Uranus moons were named from Shakespeare plays and a poem written by Alexander Pope.
Several of the moons are approximately 50% denser than water showing that some type
of ice is present. This ice is believed to be either methane, ammonia, frozen water,
or other types of compounds. All of the moons are dark gray in color which leads
scientists to believe they could be covered with carbon soot or graphite.