Uranus is one of the furthest planets out from the Sun, with only Neptune having a greater distance from the center of our solar system. But the truth is that people probably don’t know just how far Uranus is in comparison to Earth, Mars and all of the terrestrial planets, which are all relatively close to each other.
When you go past Jupiter, all of the Jovian planets are increasing distances from each other, which means you need to travel a pretty far distance to make it all the way to Uranus. But because Uranus is so far out, just how long does it take for the planet to make it all the way round the Sun? We’re going to be looking at that, as well as some other useful information about its rotation.
How long does it take Uranus to revolve around the Sun?
In total, it takes Uranus approximately 84 years for it to make one full orbit around the Sun. This is more than 30,600 days, but there’s a good reason why it takes this long. The first reason is because of its far distance away from the Sun, which is the center of our solar system.
Uranus is actually 1.8 billion miles, or just under 3 billion kilometers, away from the Sun. If we measure this against astronomical units (AU), which is the distance that Earth is from the Sun, then it’s approximately 19.8 AU. Even though there’s only Mars, Jupiter and Saturn between us and Uranus, the distance grows greater and greater, meaning that the orbital length is increased.
But as well as this, there is another secondary factor at play here, and it’s also dictated by the large distance between Uranus and the Sun. Because it’s so far away, it’s less impacted by the strong gravitational pull of the Sun, which means that it orbits it at a much slower pace. The Earth orbits the Sun at a speed of 67,000 miles per hour. In comparison to this, Uranus travels at 15,290 miles per hour, which is less than a quarter of the speed of Earth.
So, these two facts are really the key reason why a year is so long on the planet, but this is just one of many interesting facts about Uranus. Now, let’s take a quick look at its orbit.
Uranus orbital patterns and rotation
One thing that we do know about Uranus is that it has a fairly circular orbit – not quite as circular as Neptune and other planets, but it’s not far off. Other planets like Mercury orbit the Sun in a more oval fashion, and we call this the eccentricity of its orbit – the more oval it is, the higher the eccentricity. So, Uranus has a fairly low eccentricity for the most part.
As well as this, the planet has a day length of 17 hours and 14 minutes, and aside from Mars, this is the closest to what we have on Earth. However, this can definitely vary depending on the weather on Uranus, as its storms are some of the most brutal in the solar system.
One thing that is unique about Uranus is that it rotates essentially on its side, whereas all the other planets rotate as the Earth does. It’s thought that the reason Uranus spins in this fashion is because of a collision with another object billions of years ago, which may have caused it to tilt onto its side.
In conclusion, it is definitely some journey if you want to travel between Uranus and the Sun, meaning that it has a relatively long orbital period, though it’s still a little more than half the time it takes Neptune to make the same trip. We still haven’t been back to Uranus since the Voyager 2 mission passed it in the late 1980s, so much of our information about it comes from then.