Thursday, December 22, 2005
On this day:

New rings, moons discovered around Uranus

One astronomer says, "Sometimes you find things you aren't looking for. No one thought this region of Uranus was very interesting."

Since I've never viewed Uranus through a telescope, I really can't comment much. There are pictures all over the internet, but that's really not the same, you know?

Do a little digging, though, and you can find all sorts of interesting stuff. According to this site, Uranus may appear to be a "dull, unexciting place" at first glance, but in reality it has "many interesting features." For instance, did you know that - unlike the other planets - Uranus is tilted completely on its side? Wow(!)

Uranus is often known as a "gas giant," and it can be a very turbulent place. In 1999, NASA reported that "waves of massive storms" hit Uranus from time to time. Its fastest winds, measured in 2003, clocked in at close to 250 miles per hour. Scientists believe that the clouds of Uranus are made of methane, which rise and condense as warm bubbles of gas well up from deep inside.

As you might guess, astronomers look forward to further exploration of Uranus, but all of them agree that it would be impossible to live there.

The latest images of Uranus are at the Hubble Site here, and the full story from NASA is here.