Uranus is a planet filled with ice. The ice-giant has always puzzled scientists about its tilted rotational behaviors. All of the celestial bodies in our Solar System revolve around the sun in the same plane and direction. Because it is a reminder of how our solar system began from a spinning disc of dust and gas.
Almost all of the planets in our solar system rotate in the same direction with their poles placed perpendicular to the planet’s plane. But here is the twist in the tale. Uranus does not follow this conventional rotation.
This mind-blowing simulation by Jacob Kegerreis (of @durham_uni) shows how an ancient, giant impact of Uranus could've led its 98° tilt & wildly mixed up interior structure. As perhaps the least understood planet, it needs a mission! Let's support @IcyGiants #IceGiants2020 🚀 pic.twitter.com/U7Wo3SVpTE
— Dr James O'Donoghue (@physicsJ) January 22, 2020
Why Uranus is in a tilted orientation?
Because the planet is in a tilt of about 98 degrees. Uranus also has a ring structure similar to that of Saturn. The planet has 27 moons orbiting around its equator. So they too rotate in an angular manner.
Researchers from the Earth-Life-Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan have found an explanation. The planets’ strange axis of rotation is due to an ancient collision with an icy planet.
The researchers constructed a novel computer simulation of moon formation around icy planets. The model is the first of its kind. Because it clearly explains the configuration of other icy planets like Neptune.
The planet also has a “very strange” magnetic field and is too cold. But even though records suggest it remain warm. NASA studied the planets’ magnetic field using Voyager 2.
— NASA Marshall (@NASA_Marshall) March 26, 2020
So all of these odd features in Uranus is finally explained. Astronomers finally conclude that it is all due to a massive collision with an icy object around 4 million years ago.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.