From the September 2014 issue

What would a uranian day and year be like? What path across the sky would the Sun follow?

Bill McCann, Westminster, Colorado
By | Published: September 29, 2014 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Uranus' orbit

Uranus’ extreme tilt of 82° (Earth tilts 23.5°) makes for some exotic seasons, but let’s start at equinox, when the Sun shines directly over the uranian equator; on that day, the skies would seem fairly ordinary. The Sun would rise due east and set due west, although it would appear almost 400 times dimmer than it does here on Earth. Familiar constellations and unfamiliar moons would fill the night sky. The only telltale sign of Uranus’ different tilt would be the stars rotating around either Ophiuchus’ foot or Orion’s shield, depending on your location, just as they rotate around either Polaris or Sigma Octantis here on Earth.

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