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Have you ever wondered how old is Uranus? It is an interesting question to ask because it also is a question about how the solar system was formed. There is still a lot we don’t know about the formation of the planets but we do know that at most that planets are around 4 to 5 billion years old or roughly the same age as our Sun. The information is not yet complete but we do know that all the planets shared a common origin with the sun. In addition to this information scientists have other important clues to how old Uranus is.
The first clue to the age of Uranus is the Sun. The Sun was the main celestial body formed out of the Nebula that formed the solar system. While scientist don’t have exact data they have theory that the Sun’s gaining of mass and ignition as a star spurred the formation of the planets from the left over gases and cosmic dust in the presolar nebula. So knowing that the Sun and the Earth are roughly 4.5 billion years old we know that the rest of the solar system is the same age as the nebular theory states that the planets and Sun formed around the same time.
The second major clue is the composition of Uranus. Uranus is one of the famed “Ice Giants” of the Outer Solar system. Unlike the inner planets which are rocky, the Outer planets are mostly made of gases such as hydrogen or helium. You can basically call them failed stars. Essentially they are planets that gained enough mass to attract a good portion of the remaining gases and dust from the presolar nebula. However, they were never able to gain enough mass to initiate their own fusion reactions. In the case of Uranus and Neptune, the planets according to Nice theory drifted out into the outer solar system and the gases condensed and became ice giving the planet’s their nicknames.
The last big clue to how old is Uranus is the moons. The moons like others in the solar system are left over fragments from the planetoids that collided and formed the planets. In the case of Uranus the moons would be made of the same materials as those of other moons in the solar system. This shows the planet to have gone under a path of development that happened at the same time as the rest of the solar system.
We’ve also recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast all about Uranus. Listen here, Episode 62: Uranus.