HomeSpace & AstronomyAstronomers found an explanation to Uranus’ Odd Axis

Astronomers found an explanation to Uranus’ Odd Axis

Why Do Planets Rotate?
Why Do Planets Rotate?

Although Uranus and Neptune are both ice giants in the solar system and have many similarities, the former still has unique quirks.

For example, the inclination angle between the rotation axis and the ecliptic plane is as high as 98 degrees, which is almost “lying” on the ecliptic plane and revolving around the sun.

A new study finds a plausible explanation for Uranus’ strange behavior: A moon once left Uranus, causing Uranus to be pulled over as the celestial body moved away.

The orbital plane of all the planets in the solar system revolving around the sun is called the ecliptic plane, and the rotation axis of the planets is inclined to the ecliptic plane, which is also the reason for the change in the length of the day and night on the earth.

Basically, all the planets in the solar system have orbital inclinations of less than 30 degrees—except for Uranus, which has an inclination of 98 degrees. In other words, Uranus rotates almost perpendicular to its orbit; furthermore, Uranus rotates clockwise, which is also opposite to the other planets.

Astronomers have long suspected that Uranus experienced a series of giant impacts in the early days of its formation, but this argument also has loopholes.

Because of the turbulence everywhere in the early solar system, even the earth may have been hit by a protoplanet to form the moon, but fortunately the earth has not been knocked down.

Neptune and Uranus are both ice giant planets, with similar atmospheres and magnetic fields, and similar size, mass and spin speed, but the orbital inclination of Neptune, which is the farthest from the sun, is also less than 30 degrees.

What exactly is causing Uranus to be so different?

New research points to a less violent cause: A moon that was once a close companion of Uranus has drifted away.

A few years ago, the team of astronomer Melaine Saillenfest at CNRS discovered something interesting about Jupiter,

As the number of Jupiter’s moons increases, the gas giant’s orbital inclination may increase from 3% to around 37% due to moon migration over billions of years;

Saturn currently orbits at an inclination of 26.7 degrees, likely the result of the rapid outward movement of its largest moon, Titan.

The planets in the early solar system were very close to the sun when they were formed, and gradually moved to the outer periphery as time passed. During the migration process, some planets and satellites were reshuffled. Uranus may have a satellite revolving around it very early.

According to the results of the team’s simulation using a series of parameters, it was found that if a moon with about half the mass of the moon ever orbited Uranus,

Moving away from Uranus by more than 10 times its radius at a rate of more than 6 centimeters per year would tilt Uranus by 90 degrees.

This single mechanism could tilt Uranus without causing a huge impact, although it’s unclear whether Uranus ever had a large enough moon, and more observations will be needed to prove this.

The new paper is published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and also can be found on arXiv.

SOURCEPHSY
Steven L. Werner
Steven L. Werner
Steven has been writing about technology and science since he graduated from University. He is mostly focused on finding and researching for cutting-edge tech and most interesting innovations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Follow us on Social Media!

12FansLike
15,848FollowersFollow
13FollowersFollow
676SubscribersSubscribe

Related Articles

US Army’s X-37B spacecraft returns to Earth after completing 2.5-year mission

Boeing said that the X-37B, an unmanned spacecraft belonging to the US Air Force, landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November...

Scientists found a New way to study the matter inside neutron stars

Astronomers have always wondered what neutron stars are made of, as the most extreme celestial bodies in the universe other than black holes. In one...

Earth’s magnetic field could have been triggered by a large collision

The relationship between the moon impact theory and the history of the earth may be beyond our imagination. Earth's magnetic field may be innate,...

Record-breaking discovery of black hole closer to Earth

Scientists have discovered a small black hole lurking next to a star in the constellation Ophiuchus about 1,600 light-years away, the closest known black...

Explore More Articles

Antarctic sea ice may hide rich ecology in the deep dark

Antarctic sea ice may hide rich ecology in the deep dark

0
Antarctica is a world of ice and snow, not the place we expected to be full of life. But a new study has found...
UK successfully test-fired the first high-power laser weapon-min

UK successfully test-fired the first high-power laser weapon

0
The British Ministry of Defense recently announced that the "laser-guided energy weapon" under development has been successfully tested on October 17 at the test...
Atık pirinçten yapılmış, dünyanın ilk çevre dostu kuantum nokta LED'i

World’s first eco-friendly quantum LEDs made from waste rice

0
Widely used quantum dots are used in a variety of fields, from QLED TVs to solar cells, from memory cards to cancer therapy. The...
New Research shows Phone addiction Reduces creativity and brain activity-min

New Research shows Phone addiction Reduces creativity and brain activity

0
The era of smart phones has increased convenience, but many works that take time to experience, such as songs, movies, and novels, have lost...