Uranus was struck by an object twice the size of Earth. A cataclysmic event billions of years ago
The research on Uranus was conducted by an international team ofo³ expertoin the scientist-ledoat Durham University in the UK and were published on „The Astrophysical Journal”
Uranus is siodma planet of the solar system. It is a gas giant, although scientists sometimes refer to Uranus, like Neptune, as ice giantsow. That’s because the atmospheres of these planets, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, contain more frozen volatiles than the larger gas giants.
Uranus has a ring system, numerous moons and is the coldest planet in the solar system. The minimum temperature there is minus 224 degrees. Celsius. Outside Uranus’ coldest atmosphere wyroIt also changes its axis of rotation, whichora is strongly inclined and is almost in the plane of the planet’s orbit. Therefore, its poles lie where most planets in the solar system have rownik.
What could have led to the tilt of Uranus to the side? What potential consequences in the evolution of Uranus could have been caused by a massive planetary collision? To answer these questions, astronomers conducted computer simulations of possible collisions with the ice giant to sprob to determine howob evolved planet.
The researchers confirmed earlier findings. The tilted position of Uranus is due to a collision with a massive object – most likely a young protoplanet composed of rock and ice. The cosmic collision occurred during the formation of the Solar System about 4 billion years ago.
But computer simulations have suggested something else. According to researchers, the remains of the massive object, whichory hit Uranus, they may have formed a thin shell near the edge of the planet’s icy layer and trapped the heat emanating from Uranus’ core. Heat trapping may explain the extremely low temperatures in the planet’s atmosphere.
– Uranus obroc on its side, and its axis of rotation is directed almost at right angles to the axis of rotation of all the other planets in the solar system. This was almost certainly caused by a giant impact, but we know very little about how it happened and how exactly it affected the planet – Said first author of the publication Jacob Kegerreis of Durham University.
– We have analyzed more than 50 roof different collision scenarios using high-powered equipment to see if we can replicate the conditions thatore shaped the evolution of the planet’s. Our findings confirm that the most likely scenario was a collision between young Uranus and an object twice the size of Earth, if not larger. This caused the planet to tilt and began a process thatory led Uranus to the state we see today – added.
Researchers were puzzled by how theob Uranus managed to preserve its atmosphere after a cosmic collision? Simulations suggest planetary collision was not a head-on collision. The collision was strong enough to affect the inclination of Uranus, but the planet was able to retain most of its atmosphere.
Computer simulations can roalso pomoc in explaining the formation of rings and moonsoin Uranus. The collision certainly ejected large amounts of rock and ice into orbit wokol planets. This material mohead over time to fuse together to form inner moons, ktore, in turn, may have influenced the rotation of other pre-existing satelliteow planets.
Moreover, the collision may have produced molten ice and nierown rock lumps inside the planet. This may explain the inclined, off-center magnetic field of the planet.
Uranus is similar to the most common type of planet discovered outside our solar system. Scientists hope their findings will help explain how theob these planets evolved and better understand their chemical composition.
– All evidence suggests that such giant collisions are common during the formation period of planets. With this research, we are gaining more insight into their impact on potentially habitable exoplanets – said wspopublication author Luis Teodoro.