Uranus is so massive it may have survived a planetary collision.
Come on people, grow up. I’m talking about the planet.
Out of all the other planets in the solar system, the ice-giant usually gets left out of the conversation. Uranus is actually very interesting. It’s huge, gaseous, and smells like methane (okay, I did that on purpose that time). The seventh planet from the sun also has a peculiar north-south axis that tilts the planet 98 degrees from the Sun’s orbital plane. In other words, Uranus is orbiting on its side. For years astronomers have wondered why Uranus is so catawampus and now have devised a theory explaining it.
“We ran more than 50 different impact scenarios using a high-powered supercomputer to see if we could recreate the conditions that shaped the planet’s evolution,” said physicist Jacob Kegerreis of Durham University in the UK.
Kegerreis explains the planet’s odd charateristics with a “cataclysmic collision,” one in which a body larger than Earth struck Uranus roughly 4 billion years ago. This would put the impact during the early stages of the Solar System, and explains many other strange things about Uranus.
For example, all the moons of Uranus orbit in the same direction. That’s weird, right. Well, a body striking the planet in the initial stages of its development could create such a phenomenon.
Well, how come the planet didn’t lose its atmosphere in the collision? Well, rhetorical studious person, if the mysterious object merely grazed Uranus that would explain the planet’s odd axis and the atmosphere staying intact.
The team of researchers even created a simulation to show what might have happened.
It’s good to know Uranus can survive a planetary collision.