Uranus’ huge 98-degree tilt could be due to a moon moving away from the planet

Uranus’ huge 98-degree tilt could be due to a MOON pulling away from the planet and pulling it to the side, astronomers say

  • Uranus singularly has such an asymmetrical axis of rotation that it might as well lie down
  • The seventh planet from the sun has a huge tilt of 98 degrees from the orbital plane
  • Astronomers say it could be due to the moon migrating away from the planet
  • This moon may have pulled the planet sideways before colliding with it

<!–

<!–

<!–<!–

<!–

<!–

<!–

The unusual attributes of ice giant Uranus have long puzzled scientists.

But now experts think they have an explanation for why the seventh planet from the sun has such a skewed axis of rotation that it might as well be lying.

They say a mysterious moon moving away from Uranus may have pulled the planet sideways, causing it to have a whopping 98-degree tilt to the orbital plane.

Researchers at the National Center for Scientific Research in France say it wouldn’t even have to be a big moon to have this effect.

Although a larger satellite is more likely to blame, something half the mass of our own satellite could have done it.

The strange tilt isn’t Uranus’ only quirk. It also rotates clockwise, which is the opposite direction to most other planets in our solar system.

Previous research has suggested that this strange behavior could be because Uranus was hit by a massive object roughly twice the size of Earth billions of years ago, causing the tilt. of the planet.

Theory: The unusual attributes of the ice giant Uranus have long puzzled scientists.  But now experts think they have an explanation for why the seventh planet from the sun has such a skewed axis of rotation it might as well be setting

Theory: The unusual attributes of the ice giant Uranus have long puzzled scientists.  But now experts think they have an explanation for why the seventh planet from the sun has such a skewed axis of rotation it might as well be setting

Theory: The unusual attributes of the ice giant Uranus have long puzzled scientists. But now experts think they have an explanation for why the seventh planet from the sun has such a skewed axis of rotation it might as well be setting

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT URANUS?

Uranus was discovered by William Herschel in 1781 and named after the Greek sky god Ouranos.

It is 1.84 billion kilometers from the Sun and orbits every 84 years. Its largest moons are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.

It rotates on its axis once every 17 hours and 14 minutes.

It has the coldest temperatures of any planet in the solar system with a minimum temperature of -371F.

It is surrounded by a set of very fine dark colored rings.

The “cataclysmic” collision shaped the evolution of Uranus and could explain its freezing temperatures, according to the 2018 study.

But the problem with this theory is that it doesn’t explain why its neighboring planet Neptune shares a number of similarities, including masses, rotation rates, atmospheric dynamics and composition, and unusual magnetic fields.

This led scientists to try to find other explanations, such as a wobble that could have been introduced by a giant ring system or a giant moon early in the solar system’s history.

A few years ago, astronomer Melaine Saillenfest – who led the new study – discovered something interesting about Jupiter.

The gas giant’s tilt could increase from its current slight 3% to around 37% in a few billion years. The reason? The outward migration of its moons.

Then they took a look at Saturn and discovered that its current tilt of 26.7 degrees could be the result of the rapid outward migration of its largest moon, Titan.

The researchers speculated that this could have happened by having very little effect on the rotational speed of the planet.

This led the team to run simulations of a hypothetical Uranian system to determine if a similar mechanism could explain its strange behavior.

They found that a hypothetical moon with a minimum mass about half that of Earth’s moon could tilt Uranus around 90 degrees if it migrated more than 10 times the radius of Uranus at a rate greater than 6 centimeters per year.

However, a larger moon comparable in size to Jupiter’s Ganymede would be more likely to produce the tilt and rotation we see in Uranus today.

The problem with the theory is that the minimum mass – about half of an Earth’s moon – is about four times the combined mass of currently known Uranian satellites.

But researchers think they have an answer for even that.

A larger moon comparable in size to Jupiter's Ganymede (pictured top left) would be more likely to produce the tilt and spin we see in Uranus today

A larger moon comparable in size to Jupiter's Ganymede (pictured top left) would be more likely to produce the tilt and spin we see in Uranus today

A larger moon comparable in size to Jupiter’s Ganymede (pictured top left) would be more likely to produce the tilt and spin we see in Uranus today

They say that at an inclination of about 80 degrees, this hypothetical moon could have destabilized, triggering a chaotic phase for the rotational axis that ended when it finally collided with Uranus, effectively “fossilizing” the axial tilt and rotation of the planet.

“This new image of Uranus’ tilt looks quite promising to us,” they wrote.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that a single mechanism has been able to both tilt Uranus and fossilize its spin axis to its final state without invoking a giant impact or other external phenomena.

“Most of our successful runs culminate at the location of Uranus, which appears to be a natural result of dynamics.

“This image also looks attractive as a generic phenomenon: Jupiter is about to begin the tilt phase today, Saturn may be halfway there, and Uranus would have completed the final stage, with the destruction of its satellite.”

The paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, has been accepted into the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and made available on the arXiv preprint resource.

HOW DOES URANUS’ MAGNETIC FIELD COMPARE TO EARTH’S?

A recent study analyzing data collected more than 30 years ago by the Voyager 2 spacecraft found that Uranus’ global magnetosphere has nothing to do with Earth’s, which is known to be nearly aligned with Earth. axis of rotation of our planet.

A false color view of Uranus captured by Hubble is shown

A false color view of Uranus captured by Hubble is shown

A false color view of Uranus captured by Hubble is shown

According to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, this alignment would give rise to a behavior very different from what we see around the Earth.

Uranus lies and rotates on its side, leaving its magnetic field tilted 60 degrees from its axis.

As a result, the magnetic field “tumbles” asymmetrically with respect to the solar wind.

As a result, the magnetic field “tumbles” asymmetrically with respect to the solar wind.

When the magnetosphere is open, it allows the solar wind to enter.

But, when it closes, it creates a shield against these particles.

The researchers suspect that solar wind reconnection takes place upstream of Uranus’ magnetosphere at different latitudes, causing the magnetic flux to close in various parts.

Advertising

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: