Uranus emits radiation that can come from the ice giant itself or be reflected by sunlight

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Uranus has been called ‘the strangest planet’ in the solar system due to its sideways rotation and lack of a real surface, but a new discovery adds even more mystery to the strange ice giant.

Astronomers have for the first time detected X-rays from Uranus, mainly reflections from the sun, but some of the signal is emitted from the planet itself.

The team suggests that the rings around the planet produce the X-rays, similar to those of Saturn, or may come from auroras such as on Jupiter.

By finding out the sources of Uranus’ X-rays, astronomers can better understand how more exotic objects in space, such as growing black holes and neutron stars, emit X-rays.

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Astronomers have for the first time detected X-rays from Uranus, mainly reflections from the sun, but some of the signal is emitted from the planet itself.

Astronomers have for the first time detected X-rays from Uranus, mainly reflections from the sun, but some of the signal is emitted from the planet itself.

X-ray emissions in our solar system are a common sighting.

Light has been detected from comets, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter and several of Jupiter’s moons, but only ice giants such as Uranus and Neptune have never been seen with the X-ray band.

Researchers pulled data from NASA’s 2002 and 2017 Chandra X-ray Observatory that highlighted “ clear X-ray detection from the first observation, ” the team shared in a statement.

And while baffling, scientists say there are only two answers to what could cause Uranus to emit X-rays.

Researchers pulled data from NASA's 2002 and 2017 Chandra X-ray Observatory,

Researchers pulled data from NASA's 2002 and 2017 Chandra X-ray Observatory,

Researchers pulled data from NASA’s 2002 and 2017 Chandra X-ray Observatory,

The observations have been seen on both Jupiter and Saturn, caused by scattering of X-ray light from the son reflecting off the planets.

However, not all of the X-ray emissions seen in the data fit this hypothesis, as some appear to come from Uranus itself.

Uranus is surrounded by charged particles such as electrons and protons in its near space environment, ”the team wrote in a press release.

‘When these energetic particles collide with the rings, they can cause the rings to glow in X-rays.

“Another possibility is that at least some of the X-rays come from auroras on Uranus, a phenomenon previously observed at other wavelengths on this planet.”

The color auroras are found on Earth, which occur when high-energy particles interact with the atmosphere. X-rays are emitted in our planet’s auroras which are produced by energetic electrons after moving along the planet’s magnetic field lines to the poles and are slowed down by the atmosphere.

While baffling, scientists say there are only two answers to what could cause Uranus to emit X-rays: the sun or its own.

While baffling, scientists say there are only two answers to what could cause Uranus to emit X-rays: the sun or its own.

While baffling, scientists say there are only two answers to what could cause Uranus to emit X-rays: the sun or its own.

Pictured is the X-ray light observed on Uranus.  Determining the sources could help astronomers better understand how more exotic objects in space, such as growing black holes and neutron stars, emit X-rays

Pictured is the X-ray light observed on Uranus.  Determining the sources could help astronomers better understand how more exotic objects in space, such as growing black holes and neutron stars, emit X-rays

Pictured is the X-ray light observed on Uranus. Determining the sources could help astronomers better understand how more exotic objects in space, such as growing black holes and neutron stars, emit X-rays

Jupiter also has auroras that produce X-rays that are emitted when electrons travel along magnetic field lines and combine with charged atoms and molecules that rain toward the planet’s polar regions.

Scientists, however, are less sure about what causes auroras on Uranus, but hope the answers lie in Chandra’s observations.

“Uranus is a particularly interesting target for X-ray observations because of the unusual orientations of the axis of rotation and the magnetic field,” the researchers explained.

While the rotational and magnetic field axes of the other planets of the solar system are nearly perpendicular to the plane of their orbits, Uranus’s axis of rotation is nearly parallel to its orbit around the sun.

In addition, as Uranus is tilted on its side, its magnetic field is tilted and shifted to a different degree from the center of the planet. This can cause its auroras to be unusually complex and variable. ‘

HOW DOES THE MAGNETIC FIELD OF URANUS LIKE TO EARTH?

A recent study analyzing data collected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft more than 30 years ago found that Uranus’s global magnetosphere is nothing like that of Earth, which is known to be nearly aligned with the Earth’s. rotation axis of our planet.

A false-color photograph of Uranus captured by Hubble is depicted

A false-color photograph of Uranus captured by Hubble is depicted

A false-color photograph of Uranus captured by Hubble is depicted

According to the researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, this alignment would give rise to behavior that is vastly different from what is observed on Earth.

Uranus lies and rotates on its side, keeping the magnetic field tilted 60 degrees from its axis.

As a result, the magnetic field ‘tumbles’ asymmetrically with respect to the solar wind.

As a result, the magnetic field ‘tumbles’ asymmetrically with respect to the solar wind.

When the magnetosphere is open, the solar wind can flow in.

But when it closes off, it forms a shield against these particles.

The researchers suspect that the solar wind reconnection upstream of Uranus’ magnetosphere occurs at different latitudes, closing the magnetic flux in different parts.