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By the year 1800, Uranus had deviated so far from its calculated path that some reason had to be found to account for its wanderings.
Several theories were advanced: a collision with some other body in space, possibly a comet; a cloud of cosmic dust or gas was holding it back from its scheduled journey; or a satellite which had not been discovered was tugging at it, gravita- tionally.
After much of the same sort of research, he, too, calculated the possible position of a planet that could be held responsible.
Leverrier sent his work to Galle, a great German as- tronomer.
Airy held to the theory that the irregularities of Uranus could be accounted for by a failure in the law of gravitation, and gave Adams' papers only superficial examination.
Leverrier, in France, was of the same opinion as Adams about the cause of JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS, NEPTUNE AND PLUTO 67 Uranus' wanderings.
Leverrier's work, while it had been completed at a later date than had that of Adams, had resulted in the actual discovery of Neptune. Neptune has a diameter of 31,200 miles, or about 4 times the diameter of the Earth. The oblateness of Neptune is only J / 45 , smaller than that of any of the other giant planets. The orbit of Neptune has a very small eccentricity, .009, but even this small amount repre- sents a difference of 48 million miles between perihelion and aphelion. Its eccentricity, however, is the largest of that of any of the planets, so at perihelion it is 2,761,000,000 miles from the Sun, but at aphelion, it moves out to a distance of 4,589,000,000 miles. Research toward locating the planet was carried on sporadically for many years at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Both astronomers are now given equal credit for the discovery. Its perihelion distance is 49 million miles less than is Neptune's aphelion distance, so that, at certain times. Lowell died in 1916, and years later, a young astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, was assigned to pursue the search.
He sent his findings to the Astronomer Royal of England, George Airy.
Uranus takes 84 years and 4 days to complete one revolution about the Sun. Uranus is inclined at an angle of 98° from the plane of its orbit, so that it alternately presents first one pole and then the other to the Sun as it revolves about the Sun.
If by day is meant the alternation of light and dark, Uranus presents a complicated situa- tion.
The satellites of Uranus have been named from Shakespeare and 66 JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS, NEPTUNE AND PLUTO Alexander Pope. Uranus is too faint to be well seen without a telescope.
"Titania" and "Oberon" are from A Midsummer Night's Dream; "Ariel" from The Tempest; "Umbriel" from The Rape of the Lock and "Miranda" from The Tempest. Through a small telescope, Uranus presents a vague greenish disk. Uranus takes about 84 years to make one circuit of the Sun.