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Study Reveals Uranus' Unique Traits Are Due To Giant Icy Impact

A recent study in Japan has finally explained that reason behind Uranus’ unique traits including its tilt and the ring system, is due to an ancient icy impact.


A recent study in Japan has finally explained that the reason behind Uranus’ unique traits including its tilt and the ring system, is apparently due to an ancient giant icy impact. A research team led by Professor Shigeru Ida from the Earth-Life Science Institute at Tokyo Institute of Technology studied the planet with an unusual set of properties and came to the conclusion when they were constructing a computer simulation of moon formation around the icy planets. 

Uranus has been known as a tiny icy planet and left scientists clueless for a very long time. While most planets rotate around the sun in the same direction with their poles at 90 degrees to the plane of revolvement, Uranus is tilted over about 98 degrees with a ring system similar to Saturn and has 27 moons which orbit the planet around its equator. According to the official press release, Ida said that the model in the research is “first to explain the configuration of Uranus’ moon system”. He added that this new study would help the scientists understand the configuration of other icy planets in the Solar System such as Neptune. 

Ida also said, “Beyond this, astronomers have now discovered thousands of planets around other stars, so-called exoplanets, and observations suggest that many of the newly discovered planets known as super-Earths in exoplanetary systems may consist largely of water ice and this model can also be applied to these planets.”

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Planet with temperature exceeding 2,400 Celcius

While this study in Japan was about icy planets, a team of astronomers has observed a distant exoplanet where it probably rains liquid iron. According to findings published in the journal Nature, the planet is known as WASP 76b and is estimated to be located 640-light-years away from Earth. The team of scientists led by professor David Ehrenreich studied the chemistry of the planet using Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (VLT) located on Cerro Paranal, Chile. 

As per the study, WASP 76b orbits so close to its host star, which is Sun for planet Earth, that daytime temperatures on the exoplanet exceeds 2,400 degrees Celcius, hot enough to vaporise metals. However, the night time temperatures on the exoplanet fall by a whopping 1,000 degrees, allowing the metal to condense and rain out. The study says that the exoplanet is so close to its host star that it takes just 48 hours to complete one revolution, in contrast, the Earth takes 365 days and 5 hours to complete one revolution around the Sun. 

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Image Source: Unsplash/Representative

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