Uranus vs Ganymede (How Are They Different?)

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The main differences between Uranus and Ganymede is that Uranus is a gas based ice giant planet whilst Ganymede is a terrestrial based natual satellite, Uranus has 27 moons orbiting it whilst Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system that has no moons whilst orbiting Jupiter and Uranus is almost 10 times larger with a diameter of 50,724km compared to Ganymede’s 5,268km.

There are numerous other differences between these two entities so continue reading for a more detailed look at each ceslstial body, along with their similarities and differences below.

What Is The Planet Uranus?

Uranus is the 7th farthest planet from the Sun and the 3rd largest planet in our solar system, coming in at a diameter of 50,724 km. This means that roughly 63 Earth’s could fit inside this ice giant.

In regards to why this cyan blue planet is referred to as an ice giant, it’s down to it’s composition. Uranus is made mostly of methane, ammonia and water with its atmosphere mostly consisting of hydrogen and helium, much like the Sun, and the other giant planets in our solar system.

Due to its distance from the Sun, it takes Uranus 84 years to complete one orbit our central star, whereas it’s axial rotation is  much faster than even our Earth at 17 hours per rotation.

As a result of its distance from the Sun, ice based composition and faster rotation levels, Uranus is far from an ideal place to live in let alone have the potential to support life.

Its base temperature is generally a chilling -190 to -200 degrees Celsius and its rocky core, although hot, is still on the cooler side for a large planet sitting around the 5,000 degrees Celsius range.

The planet’s winds are also very fast often hitting 900 km/h, which is roughly twice that of Earth’s most powerful turbulent wind speeds.

In regards to the moons surrounding this cyan planet, we’ve discovered 27 small ones orbiting it. Furthermore, it has 13 rings surrounding it which also means Uranus has the most abundant collection of rings surrounding in our solar system, which is even more than Saturn.

One of the Uranus’ most unique features would include the manner in which it rotates around its axis. As opposed to the slightly angled rotation that the likes of Earth, Saturn and most other planets display, Uranus’ axis is positioned at a 98 degree angle.

What this means is this ice giant completes an axial rotation on its side as opposed to the relatively up straight positioning of most of the other planets in our solar system.

What Is The Moon Ganymede?

Ganymede is the largest of the Galilean moons – and the largest moon in our entire solar system – first discovered on 7th January 1610. The surface of this icy world is frozen and covered by two main types of landscape: young, light regions and old, crater-filled terrain. And these darker areas seem to contain a number of organic materials.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have found evidence of an oxygen-based atmosphere. Still, it is far too thin to support any living organisms that we know of. Based on this, it’s unlikely that Ganymede hosts life as we know it.

Estimates place Ganymede at around 4.5 billion years old (the same age as its planet, Jupiter), and its average distance from the Sun is approximately 778 million km.

Its diameter is 5,268km, making it larger than the planet Mercury. Despite this, Ganymede only possesses half the mass of Mercury at 1.48 × 10^23kg, so it is still classified as a low-density object.

Ganymede takes seven days to orbit its planet at an average distance of 665,00km, and the temperature varies from minus 112 to minus 193 degrees Celsius. In regards to the moon’s core temperature, that would be around 1,226 – 1,446 degrees Celsius.

Among the fascinating features of this ice moon is its magnetosphere. While many planets possess a magnetosphere, no other moon in our solar system shares this trait.

Measuring the changes in the magnetic fields of Ganymede and Jupiter allowed scientists to predict that salt water lies beneath the surface of this freezing world.

However, this is insufficient to support life when you factor in the other elements of this giant moon. In contrast to Europa, the rocky layer of Ganymede is not directly below the ocean, so life would have a difficult time forming both above and below the ice.

In addition, the thick layer of ice on the moon’s surface would make internal, water-based life challenging for scientists to detect.

Similarities Between Uranus And Ganymede

Uranus and Ganymede do share the odd few similar features, which in this case would include the following:

  • Both are a spherical shape.
  • Both have a hotter core.
  • Both are part of the same solar system.
  • Neither have tectonic plates.
  • Both orbit another object.
  • Both have a magnetosphere.

Differences Between Uranus And Ganymede

In regards to the differences, they include the below:

  • Uranus is a gas based ice giant whilst Ganymede is a low density terrestrial based nautrual satellite.
  • Uranus has 27 moons whilst Ganymede has 0.
  • Ganymede has 0 rings surrounding it whilst Uranus has 13.
  • In regards to size, Uranus has a diameter of 50,724km whereas Ganymede is far smaller at 5,268km even if it is the largest moon in our solar system.
  • Ganymede has an axial tilt that is practically straight at 0 – 0.33 degrees whilst Uranus has the most absurd tilt in our solar system amongst the larger celestial bodies at 98 degrees.
  • In regards to temperature, Ganymede’s is between -112 to  -193 degrees Celsius whilst Uranus has a temperature of around -190 to -200 degrees Celsius.
  • Uranus has a core temperature of 5,000 degrees Celsius whilst Ganymede has a core temperature of 1,226 – 1,426 degrees Celsius.
  • A Uranus day is 17 hours whereas a Ganymede day is 7 days and 3 hours.
  • Ganymede orbits Jupiter in an elliptical pattern whilst Uranus orbits the Sun in a circular pattern.
  • Ganymede is tidally locked to Jupiter whereas Uranus is not tidally locked to any other planets.
  • it takes Uranus 84 years to orbit the Sun whilst Ganymede orbits the Sun in 12 years just like Jupiter.
  • Ganymede isn’t as heavy with a mass of 1.48 × 10^23kg whereas Uranus has a mass of 8.68 x 10^25.
  • Uranus’ gravitational strength is 8.87 m/s² whilst Ganymede’s gravitational strength is 1.428 m/s².


Other than being a part of the same solar system, having a magetosphere and their general spherical shape, Uranus and Ganymede don’t really share all that much in common.

Whether it be in regards to their size, mass, physical composition, axial tilt, the number of other celestial bodies that orbit them and many others, Uranus is physically and functionally, completely different to the largest natural satellite within our solar system.

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