Evidence that Uranus was knocked askew by an ancient ice planet

  • Wednesday 13, May 2020 07:53 PM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: The Solar System's seventh planet Uranus is a ringed gas giant with a horizontal rotational axis, or tilt, that is unique in the solar system.
According to a pre-print study, scientists may have uncovered new evidence that explains the gas giant's idiosyncratic rotation.

Writing in a press release, the research team says Uranus's tilt is highly unusual, as most other planets in the system, such as Earth and Jupiter rotate with an axis close to perpendicular to their the orbit.

According to the research team, during the early Solar System, an ice planet as large as three times the mass of Earth may have impacted Uranus and knocked the gas giant off its axis.

Although the ice planet would have vaporized on impact, the team says their model shows that the hypothetical impact would lead to the formation of Uranus's ring system and moons, which they dubbed the smoking gun for the collision.