Uranus

Astronomical Facts

Information about the planets is constantly being updated. For example, the number of known Moons for some planets has increased over the years. The following data is current as of 1995.
Average Distance from Sun (Earth=1.0): 19.2
Radius (Earth radii): 4.0
Number of known Moons: 15
Rotation Period (length of day): 0.7 days (backwards)
Revolutionary Period (length of year): 84.01 years.
Mass (Earth masses): 15
Density (g/cm3): 1.2
Atmosphere: 84% hydrogen, 14% helium, 2% methane.
Tilt of axis: 98 degrees.

Uranus was discovered in 1781 by British astronomer William Herschel. Its name was suggested by astronomer Johann Bode. Like Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus has differential rotation, that is some parts of its gaseous surface rotate faster than other parts, but very oddly, the rotation is faster near its poles than at its equator. At the poles the period of rotation is about 14.2 hours and at the equator about 16.5 hours. Uranus, unlike any other planet, is spinning on its side! Its north and south poles are only 8 degrees from being precisely "on its side", that is with the poles precisely in the plane of its orbit. For 42 years, one pole is facing the Sun and then the other side is facing it for 42 years, resulting in extreme seasonal effects; there are big differences between summer and winter temperatures. The largest Moons of Uranus are, in decreasing size order (the diameter in kilometers is given in parentheses): Titania (1610), Oberon (1550), Umbriel (1190), Ariel (1160), and Miranda (485).

Astrological Meaning

The planet Uranus is beyond the orbit of Saturn and can't be seen without the aid of a telescope. It represents the sky in us, that which transcends the limits of finite life. Uranus raises the vibration of everything it contacts. The sign placement of Uranus shows your broadest striving for freedom. The house placement of Uranus indicates your area of direct unique expression. The aspects to Uranus indicate the way you express your need for higher consciousness.

Historical Myth & Legend

The planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were unknown in ancient times. The fact that many Greek gods clearly personify the astrological influences of planets is probably not coincidental or even always subtle in its relationship: most likely astrological theory sometimes provided the basic ideas upon which the myths were built. But this could not be possible with the 3 outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto because these planets were unknown when Greek myths flourished. Astronomers continued the tradition of naming planets after Greek gods.

Uranus was born from Gaea, the Earth, and he became the god of the sky. His rains fertilized the Earth and gave birth to many kinds of human-like creatures, one of which were the Cyclopes and another were the Titans. Uranus tried to confined the Cyclopes to the depths of the Earth, a place known as Tartarus.

Gaea encouraged her children to rebel against Uranus, and the youngest Titan, Cronus, was successful in wounding Uranus. After this occurred, little is mentioned about Uranus in Greek mythology. The myth of Uranus does not appear to describe Uranus's astrological characteristics very well, but this is not surprising given the fact that its name was given much later than the myth, and there was no conscious attempt by astronomers (who very often are not believers in astrology) to select a myth with astrologically appropriate significance.

The myth of Uranus does have some points of similarity to Uranus's astrological influence: the planet Uranus is associated with sudden explosions of energy like lightning, which is a product of the sky, Uranus's domain.