It will not be wrong to assert that Unexpected is the only expected now.
The seventh planet from the Sun and currently at a distance of 3 billion kms from Earth, Uranus has been pouring out X-rays and that too because of Sun and a hidden source?
About this distant Neighbor:
Uranus is a gas giant (made of Hydrogen and Helium) with 13 fainted rings, nearly 2 rings centered at Equator and 27 small moons in its treasure.
While the other planets revolve around the Sun on its axis, Uranus revolves around the Sun along its side, with the axis of its spin nearly pointing at the star. This makes Uranus special and discrete from the other planets in our solar system.
Although this tilt may be due to collision it may have encountered after its formation, with any planet sized or small celestial body.
Looking at Uranus, is it easy?
Plenty of objects in the Solar System emit X-rays – from Venus to Saturn to even moons of Jupiter and various Scientists have written papers describing their research in this regard. Only the little-studied Uranus and Neptune were missing from such list.
Voyager 2 has been the only spacecraft to ever fly by Uranus.
All that our astronomers currently rely on for its observance are the telescopes much closer to Earth, like Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope.
Any possible detection may help us understand about this shy planet more and more.
The bold Observation:
In a new study, Researchers used observations made by Chandra X-ray Observatory on Uranus, taken in 2002 and then again in 2017 and analyzed both of them.
Those in 2002, analyzed recently, have indicated a clear detection of X-rays while a possible flare of X-rays was observed in the one fifteen years later.
Recent issue of The Journal of Geophysical Research(March 31) has covered this study that further describes the result in complete depth.
NASA’s Chandra Observatory:
It is a specially designed telescope to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes, difficult for any other object to capture.
What can be the possible causes of such an emission?
1. Reflections of the Sun: Astronomers have observed that Jupiter and Saturn scattering X-ray light they receive by the Sun, similar to the way Earth’s atmosphere scatter Sun’s light.
Those undertaking this new study expected Uranus to comply with most of the X-rays detected to be from the scattering, but there are enough compelling reasons that at least one other source of X-rays is present in case of Uranus.
2. Rings of Uranus: Even these can be producing X-rays themselves, which happens in Saturn’s rings. Uranus too is surrounded by abundant charged particles such as electrons and protons in its nearby space environment. If these energetic particles come in contact with the rings, they could cause the rings to glow in X-rays.
3. Auroras at Uranus: Similar light shows have been seen in the higher latitudes of Earth:
In the Northern Hemisphere its called aurora borealis, aurora polaris, or northern lights, and In the Southern Hemisphere aurora australis, or southern lights.
It happens when high-energy particles intermingle with the atmosphere of the planet. X-rays get produced by energetic electrons as they travel down the planet’s magnetic field lines to its poles are slowed down by the atmosphere. These x-rays get emitted in Earth’s auroras.
Jupiter has auroras, too. The X-rays from Jupiter’s auroras come from two sources:
- Electrons piercing the planet’s magnetic field lines, as on Earth and
2. Positively charged atoms-molecules falling at Jupiter’s polar regions.
However, no revelation of the causes to any possible Aurora on Uranus has been made so far by the Scientists.
We can stay tuned for more such observations in future as our Scientists are totally inclined with studies on this planet and the Solar System.