Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Uranus' Tilt Caused By 'Cataclysmic' Collision From 4 Billion Years Ago

Uranus' Tilt Caused By 'Cataclysmic' Collision From 4 Billion Years Ago

"Our findings confirm that the most likely outcome was that the young Uranus was involved in a cataclysmic collision with an object twice the mass of Earth, if not larger, knocking it on to its side and setting in the process the events that helped create the planet we see today".

Uranus, the planet with the unforgettable name, is unique in a number of ways. And this isn't the only thing that makes the planet so odd.

Uranus also has a "very, very unusual " magnetic field and is extremely cold, even though it "should" be warmer, according to Kegerreis.

Scientists from Durham University in the United Kingdom have modeled more than 50 different collision scenarios of Uranium with other objects in an attempt to restore every detail and the conditions for the birth of the planet.

As reported by, it seems like Uranus collided with a massive celestial object, one that was roughly twice the size of Earth. Uranus probably hit a young proto-planet made of rock and ice, the researchers said.

Amazingly, Uranus retained its atmosphere after this impact.

The object likely struck a grazing blow on the planet, since a direct hit would have destroyed its atmosphere.

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Uranus is similar to the most common type of exoplanets - planets found outside of our solar system - and the researchers hope their findings will help explain how such planets evolved and understand more about their chemical composition.

Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison/W.W.

A new research led by astronomers at Durham University in United Kingdom might provide us with some answers as to why Uranus is tilted on its side and why freezing temperatures are possible on this planet. This trapped internal heat could partly explain why the outer atmosphere of Uranus is so cold - at negative 216 degreeCelsius.

According to Kegerreis, this collision could also explain two other oddities about the tilted planet. First, it could explain how and why some of Uranus' moons formed.

The research could also help to provide an explanation for how Uranus' planetary rings were formed. The spewing out of rocks from the impact collision likely left a massive amount of material spinning around Uranus which then clumped up together to form its many inner moons. Last year, a separate study also explored this aspect of the collision.

The researchers also suggest that the collision could have created molten ice and lumps of rock inside the planet, which tilted its magnetic field, according to the statement.

The team executed the premiere high-resolution computer simulation of varied big accident with ice giant to attempt to decipher how the planet evolved.

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