May 20, 2019

Why is Uranus so odd?

Timothy Birdnow

Uranus, in addition to being gaseous, is also a lazy planet, laying on it's side to the point where the pole points directly at the Sun on occasion. Why is Uranus so odd? Her magnetic field is out of shape, too, and the planet is much colder than it should be.

Here is a possible answer. Researchers, using computer models, think a planet larger than Earth may have struck the gas giant in it's infancy.

From the article:

Scientists therefore suspect that Uranus was once similar to the other planets in the solar system but was suddenly flipped over. So what happened? Our new research, published in the Astrophysical Journal and presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, offers a clue.
Cataclysmic collision

Our solar system used to be a much more violent place, with protoplanets (bodies developing to become planets) colliding in violent giant impacts that helped create the worlds we see today. Most researchers believe that Uranus’ spin is the consequence of a dramatic collision. We set out to uncover how it could have happened.

Understanding the planets in our solar system will help us understand planets in other systems. There are a lot of Uranus-type worlds orbiting other stars.

Read teh whole article; it's interesting, to put it mildly.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:42 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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