The eight major planets of the Solar System all possess their own unique features. The rocky planets have craters, ridges, mountains and more: evidence of a violent past and interior activity. All the planets except Mercury have atmospheres, where volatile materials form clouds and hazes. On the gas giant worlds, banded structures, storms, and turbulent streams are commonly seen. Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune all display spectacular changes over time whenever we’ve examined their atmospheres in detail.
But not Uranus. Alone among all the planets in the Solar System, Uranus is a light, blue-colored, otherwise featureless world. Even when it was visited up close by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, the most remarkable part of the story was how unremarkable Uranus appeared. To the human eye, Uranus is the only planet without interesting features on it. Here’s the scientific story of why.