Useful Notes: Uranus
"Observation: Uranus Is Showing."The seventh planet from the Sun, so far away it could be argued that the sun does not shine there. It is a "giant planet," and arguably full of gases like methane and ammonia, though its inner composition is various ices and rock. When first encountered, the haziness of the planet at the time make it look like a nearly featureless blue ball; better images over a decade later showed it had striations and white wisp-like clouds. Coincidentally, this fit in with its namesake, the Greek god of the sky. The planet, while visible to the naked eye (albeit very faint), is not one of the classic original planets, and is the first planet to be recognized as one via telescope, thanks to Sir William Herschel. It has a ring system, like Saturn and other similar planets, a magnetosphere which draws objects into it, and of course moons. Its most striking feature, however, is that the gas giant is rotating on its side, thanks to being smacked upside its head by two glancing blows from planetoids about the size of Earth early in its life. At the time of the Voyager 2 encounter, its south pole faced the Sun. Currently, it's on its side in relation to the Sun. This has led to the realization (via observation from the Hubble Space Telescope) that the planet was actually two-toned, with a darker shade of blue on the north half of the planet.