Geology of the Solar System 12: Uranus


I wanted to put a compilation video of Bradley from Stickin’ Around talking about Uranus, but apparently such a thing does not yet exist.  Therefore, I will have to torrent the entire show, create one, and will replace this note with it as soon as it’s done.  Sorry for the lack of hilarity.

There are so many possibilities for hilariously juvenile and inappropriate lines in this blog post, but I shall refrain and keep to my normal format, as a friend of mine in the course has already created such a blog post.  You can find it here: Any subsequent hilarity is largely accidental.

It takes Uranus 17.24 Earth hours to rotate on its axis, and 84 Earth years to orbit the Sun once. Its density is comparable to Jupiter, at 1.28 g/cm3. It has a pretty messed up rotational axis, and is basically laying on its side. This might be because it was struck by a huge bolide (possible Earth-sized) early in its history, before its rings and satellites formed.  Its magnetic field is also a bit strange, as it tilts at a pretty extreme angle and does not pass through the center of the planet.  This might be because it is experiencing a reversal in its polarity, which is known to happen on Earth fairly frequently.

Here is a picture of the planet’s internal structure, so that I don’t have to type it out:

There are 15 known moons, which I won’t go into too much detail on.  They tend to have areas that are heavily cratered, implying an older surface, as well as smoother areas where resurfacing has occurred, which are cross-cut by fractures caused by extension of the surface. There is some volcanism and resurfacing produced by ice, slush, and liquid water. Unlike other volcanic moons in this part of the solar system, gravitational friction and moon size could not have produced the heat required to melt rock or even water in their interiors.  The presence of liquid water is likely due to dissolved ammonia, which lowers the melting point.

I also wanted to post a video of Stephen Fry talking about Uranus on QI, but apparently this clip is not available on its own, so I will have to torrent the episode, cut that bit out, and post it to YouTube before I can replace this message with it.  Seriously, do I have to do everything myself?


One Response to “Geology of the Solar System 12: Uranus”

  1. Wow, this paragraph is nice, my younger sister is
    analyzing these things, thus I am going to convey her.

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