This diagram shows how the inclination of orbits of Uranus' moons have appeared increasingly more oblique over the past 12 years due to Uranus's orbit about the Sun. Hubble Space Telescope has been watching Uranus over that period and has traced, in detail, our changing view of the planet. Uranus is tilted so that its spin axis lies nearly in its orbital plane. This means that only around the time when Uranus's equator is aimed at the Sun (every 42 years) do the orbits of its satellites lie edge-on to the Sun, allowing their shadows to strike the planet, producing solar eclipses on the planet.
Object Name: Uranus
Image Type: Illustration
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