The North Pole of Uranus


This snapshot of Uranus taken by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a vast bright cloud cap across the north pole which is believed to be caused by the planet’s odd orientation. Unlike the other planet in the Solar System, Uranus is tipped over almost onto its side. During the planet’s summer the Sun shines almost directly onto the north pole as a result of the extreme tilt and never sets. It’s almost mid summer on Uranus, and the polar storm may have formed because of seasonal changes in atmospheric flow.

Uranus is an ice giant planet. It has no solid surface but rather mantles of hydrogen and helium surrounding a water-rich interior which is probably wrapped around a rocky core. Methane in the atmosphere absorbs red light and scattered blue-green light back into space, giving each planet its cyan hue.

Image Credit: NASA

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