Uranus is unique in our solar system because it is tilted 98 degrees. When viewed from Earth, it appears to rotate on its side! At different times throughout its orbit, we can actually view one of the planet's poles head-on. The atmosphere is composed of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The temperature in the upper atmosphere is so cold that the methane condenses and forms a thin cloud layer which gives the planet its blue-green appearance. The winds on Uranus blow mainly to the east and can reach speeds up to 600 kilometers per hour. The rapid spin of Uranus influences the winds in the atmosphere. Uranus has a very strong magnetic field. This planet has a system of rings which was not discovered until 1977. The ring system contains eleven dark rings composed of varying sized particles. Satellites embedded in the rings create gaps between the rings. Uranus has 21 known natural satellites (and may have at least 27), both within the rings and outside of the rings.
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