How Long is a Year on Uranus?

by Fraser Cain on October 3, 2008

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Orbit of Uranus. Image credit: IFA

Orbit of Uranus. Image credit: IFA


Uranus is so far away from the Sun, so how long is a year on Uranus? Uranus takes 84.3 Earth years to go around the Sun. So, if we all came from Uranus, almost everyone wouldn’t have experienced even their first birthday. Just the occasional person would have actually had a single birthday.

During its orbit around the Sun, Uranus ranges in distance from 2.75 billion to 3 billion kilometers. This is because Uranus, like all the planets, follows an elliptical path around the Sun.

One of the most bizarre aspects of Uranus is its axial tilt. While the Earth has a tilt of 23.5 degrees, the tilt of Uranus is 99 degrees. What this means is that the planet is completely tilted over on its side. This has a dramatic effect on the planet’s seasons. The north pole of Uranus experiences 42 years in darkness, pointed away from the Sun, and then it experiences 42 years of sunlight, where the Sun never goes down. One at the equator does one ever experience anything like what we have on Earth, with regular day night cycles.

We have written many stories about Uranus on Universe Today. Here’s one about how the orbit of Uranus let us see its rings edge-on. And another about a dark spot in its clouds.

If you’d like more info on Uranus, check out Hubblesite’s News Releases about Uranus. And here’s a link to the NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide to Uranus.

We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast just about Uranus. You can access it here: Episode 62: Uranus.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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