Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

November 15, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Uranus: The Tilted Planet
Credit: Voyager 2, NASA

Explanation: Uranus is the third largest planet after Jupiter and Saturn. This picture was snapped by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986 - the only spacecraft ever to visit Uranus. Uranus has many moons and a ring system. Uranus is composed mostly of rock and ices, but with a thick hydrogen and helium atmosphere. Uranus is peculiar in that its rotation axis is greatly tilted and sometimes points near the Sun. It remains an astronomical mystery why Uranus' axis is so tilted. Uranus and Neptune are very similar.

Tomorrow's picture: The Leonid Meteor Shower

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.