The planet Uranus may be one of the most incredible features of our solar system, a planet that is completely and totally, wildly off kilter in its orbit from the rest of the planets, also having other strange features.
This is the axis that the planet Uranus rests on in our solar system. Notice anything different between the planet and the rest of them? Venus rotates completely backwards from all the other planets, and Uranus is completely on its side.
Now, a study has been published that claims to identify why Uranus rotates wildly different from the rest of the planets, on its side.
Simulations put together for a study by astronomers from the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University report that some huge collision in Uranus’ early history can probably explain the odd features of the planet. Ring a bell? This is the type of theory astronomers have presented for just about every strange motion made in our solar system. Albiet a simple explanation, it does seem to make sense.
“We ran more than 50 different impact scenarios using a high-powered super computer to see if we could recreate the conditions that shaped the planet’s evolution,” the lead author of this study Jacob Kegerreis said. “Our findings confirm that the most likely outcome was that the young Uranus was involved in a cataclysmic collision with an object twice the mass of Earth, if not larger, knocking it on to its side and setting in process the events that helped create the planet we see today.”
The explanation simply goes, early in the formation of planet Uranus a giant object must have struck it on the side, not like a direct collision, but something with an angle that would produce such a wobbly planet as Uranus.
If astronomers chose to analyze the Pluto-distance dwarf planet Haumea for example, they might also conclude that the object was once struck really hard. It only makes sense, Haumea is a football shaped dwarf planet thought to be one of the fastest spinning objects in our solar system. This is a simulation of the planet’s movement.
The researchers also came to the conclusion that naturally, the great Uranus collision must have produced the ring system around the planet, and perhaps a few of its many Moons.
“The incredible damage to Uranus and the mass of loose material that was produced by the crash would have coalesced into a ball, and the planet’s skewed magnetic field that we see today might be a result of non-uniform settling of the material around its core,” an article from Yahoo reports.
Uranus is such a strange planet, it seems to produce storms of electricity or lightning that are about as large as the entire planet Earth.
Bright, light producing storms on the electric planet have been observed in increasing intensity and frequency in the past several years.
Uranus is actually the 3rd largest planet in our solar system, larger than the deep blue planet Neptune which is of course the next furthest planet from the Sun.
Uranus is very difficult to observe with the naked eye, but on certain occasions it is visible, thanks to modern technology.
Observing the planets and stars can be such a wholesome activity, and an easy way to reconnect with nature. Try it sometime: go outside and learn to recognize the planets in the sky. These nights, you can see Jupiter in the sky in Scorpio, Venus in Leo, Saturn in Capricorn, and Mars in Aquarius all in one night.