Uranus is a crazy sideways planet, with crazy sideways seasons.

I heard a while ago that the farthest, coldest planet in our solar system was tilted on its side. Today, my older son had a field at the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago, and I had the chance to ask a question that had been bothering me. Does the axis of Uranus’ rotation point along the path of it’s rotation around the Sun, such that it still has a normal day and night? Or does it rotate pointing toward the Sun, such that one hemisphere is in constant daytime and one in constant night? The answer is even weirder than I thought. It’s axis of rotation, like the Earth’s, is fixed, such that it seems to rotate in relation to the Sun. So, it has seasons, like the Earth does. Only, on Uranus, if you lived in one particular place, you’d have two seasons with a relatively normal day/night cycle, one season of total daytime, and one season of total nighttime. Not to mention, each season on Uranus is over twenty years long!

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