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Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin
http://www.astronomy.com ^ | 07 OCT 2011 | Staff

Posted on 10/10/2011 12:38:05 PM PDT by Red Badger

If Uranus was not tilted in one blow, as is commonly thought, but rather was bumped in at least two smaller collisions, there is a much higher probability of seeing its moons orbit in the direction we observe. By European Planetary Science Congress, AAS Division for Planetary Science —

Uranus’ highly tilted axis makes it something of an oddball in our solar system. The accepted wisdom is that Uranus was knocked on its side by a single large impact, but new research rewrites our theories of how Uranus became so tilted and also solves fresh mysteries about the position and orbits of its moons. By using simulations of planetary formation and collisions, it appears that early in its life Uranus experienced a succession of small punches instead of a single knock-out blow. This research has important ramifications on our theories of giant planet formation.

Uranus is unusual in that its spin axis is inclined by 98° compared to its orbital plane around the Sun. This is far more pronounced than other planets, such as Jupiter (3°), Earth (23°), or Saturn and Neptune (29°). Uranus is, in effect, spinning on its side.

The generally accepted theory is that in the past a body a few times more massive than Earth collided with Uranus, knocking the planet on its side. There is, however, one significant flaw in this notion: The moons of Uranus should have been left orbiting in their original angles, but they, too, lie at almost exactly 98°.

This long-standing mystery has been solved by an international team of scientists led by Alessandro Morbidelli from the Cote d’Azur Observatory in Nice, France.

Morbidelli and his team used simulations to reproduce various impact scenarios in order to ascertain the most likely cause of Uranus’ tilt. They discovered that if Uranus had been hit when still surrounded by a protoplanetary disk — the material from which the moons would form — then the disk would have reformed into a fat doughnut shape around the new, highly tilted equatorial plane. Collisions within the disk would have flattened the doughnut, which would then go onto form the moons in the positions we see today.

However, the simulation threw up an unexpected result: In the above scenario, the moons displayed retrograde motion — that is to say, they orbited in the opposite direction to that which we observe. Morbidelli’s group tweaked their parameters in order to explain this. The surprising discovery was that if Uranus was not tilted in one go, as is commonly thought, but rather was bumped in at least two smaller collisions, then there is a much higher probability of seeing the moons orbit in the direction we observe.

This research is at odds with current theories of how planets form, which may now need adjusting. “The standard planet formation theory assumes that Uranus, Neptune, and the cores of Jupiter and Saturn formed by accreting only small objects in the protoplanetary disk,” said Morbidelli. “They should have suffered no giant collisions. The fact that Uranus was hit at least twice suggests that significant impacts were typical in the formation of giant planets. So, the standard theory has to be revised.”


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; planet; solarsystem; space; uranus

Searched ESV text for Near-infrared views of Uranus reveal its otherwise faint ring system, highlighting the extent to which it is tilted. Credit: Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory. Showing 0 of 0 results.

1 posted on 10/10/2011 12:38:14 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

In before all the stupid ‘Uranus’ jokes! ;p


2 posted on 10/10/2011 12:39:41 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: Red Badger

"knew a girl once who's bumps could break uranus"

3 posted on 10/10/2011 12:40:45 PM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: KevinDavis

PING


4 posted on 10/10/2011 12:43:52 PM PDT by Thunder90 (Fighting for truth and the American way... http://citizensfortruthandtheamericanway.blogspot.com/)
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To: Red Badger

....circling uranus and looking for Kingons, Bump


5 posted on 10/10/2011 12:43:59 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: KoRn

Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.”

Philip Fry: “Oh. What’s it called now?”

Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Urectum”


6 posted on 10/10/2011 12:44:06 PM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: Red Badger

What are things you never want to hear from a proctologist for $1,000.00, Alex.


7 posted on 10/10/2011 12:44:44 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: Red Badger

Probably was a hip check from Whoopi or Rosie.


8 posted on 10/10/2011 12:51:58 PM PDT by dblshot (Insanity: electing the same people over and over and expecting different results.)
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To: RegulatorCountry
What are things you never want to hear from a proctologist for $1,000.00, Alex.

And the answer is: "Ju not only have rings around uranus, but ju also have a red spot on jupiter."

9 posted on 10/10/2011 12:52:27 PM PDT by Maceman (Obama: As American as nasei goreng)
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

lol!!!


10 posted on 10/10/2011 12:53:48 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: RegulatorCountry

This article is going to make Barney Frank drool.


11 posted on 10/10/2011 12:54:17 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Red Badger

U hear more about a Uterus being tilted than Uranus....


12 posted on 10/10/2011 1:13:06 PM PDT by mikrofon (Uknowhattamean?)
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To: Red Badger
Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin.

I've driven down roads like that.

13 posted on 10/10/2011 1:17:12 PM PDT by upsdriver (to undo the damage the "intellectual elites" have done. . . . . Sarah Palin for President!)
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To: upsdriver

Back in my disco days, the bump had the same effect.


14 posted on 10/10/2011 1:25:13 PM PDT by coldbluesteel (Endo)
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To: Red Badger
They discovered that if Uranus had been hit when still surrounded by a protoplanetary disk — the material from which the moons would form — then the disk would have reformed into a fat doughnut shape around the new, highly tilted equatorial plane.

A doughnut around Uranus because it got hit?

15 posted on 10/10/2011 1:26:13 PM PDT by frithguild (We admitted we were powerless over government - that out lives had become unmanageable)
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To: Thunder90

I find myself hard press to GAS how Uranus started to tilt.


16 posted on 10/10/2011 1:27:42 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

LOL that’s the first thing that came to mind.
That is one beautiful picture.


17 posted on 10/10/2011 1:34:25 PM PDT by Trillian
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To: Red Badger

Uranus in a tizzy spewing out brown matter.


18 posted on 10/10/2011 1:40:50 PM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: Red Badger

I love science and physics, but when they can successfully predict the weather tomorrow I will be more apt to believe their simulation correctly predicts the motion of this massive body a couple billion years ago. I will give them an A for trying because we should never stop trying to understand our universe and the role we play.


19 posted on 10/10/2011 1:43:18 PM PDT by Sawdring
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius

I’ve heard it pronounced “You-Rah-Noose”.

Like in “Uh, that’s `Frahnk-en-Steen’.”


20 posted on 10/10/2011 1:58:58 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: Red Badger
Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin

21 posted on 10/10/2011 2:23:09 PM PDT by ari-freedom
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To: Red Badger
Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin

And what is big enough to "bump" a gas-giant sideways?

Hmmm... lemme think...


22 posted on 10/10/2011 2:38:33 PM PDT by Talisker (History will show the Illuminati won the ultimate Darwin Award.)
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To: RegulatorCountry
What are things you never want to hear from a proctologist for $1,000.00, Alex.

ROFL - Best Indulge-The-Temptation-And-Make-The-Joke-Anyway Post Award!

23 posted on 10/10/2011 2:40:53 PM PDT by Talisker (History will show the Illuminati won the ultimate Darwin Award.)
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To: Red Badger

Totally gay.


24 posted on 10/10/2011 10:08:08 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Rick Perry has more red flags than a May Day Parade)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...
Note: this topic is from 10/10/2011.
Thanks Red Badger.

 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

25 posted on 11/05/2011 8:36:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Red Badger

I honestly did not know that Uranus was blue!


26 posted on 11/05/2011 8:45:32 PM PDT by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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To: brytlea; cripplecreek; decimon; bigheadfred; KoRn; Grammy; married21; steelyourfaith; Mmogamer; ...

Thanks Red Badger.
Note: this topic is from 10/10/2011.
An "extra, extra" ping.


27 posted on 11/05/2011 9:29:02 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Red Badger

In spite of all the stupid jokes, a most interesting topic. Thanks for posting it.

Since our inclination causes our seasons, makes you wonder what they would be like on Uranus (and please, no more dumb comments).


28 posted on 11/06/2011 2:01:23 PM PST by ixtl ( You live and learn. Or you don't live long.)
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To: ixtl

Since Uranus is so far from the sun, the difference in the seasons would be negligible. Summer would still be close to solid methane temp...........


29 posted on 11/07/2011 6:20:27 AM PST by Red Badger (Obama's number one economics advisor must be a Magic Eight Ball.................)
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To: Red Badger

Actually, I was thinking what the effect would be on Earth’s seasons if our axis was inclined that far. Guess I wasn’t clear


30 posted on 11/08/2011 9:52:16 AM PST by ixtl ( You live and learn. Or you don't live long.)
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To: Hegewisch Dupa

suprised not to see Uranus on this thread....


31 posted on 11/08/2011 9:53:43 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: KoRn

Sideways? Is that like bumbling down the banister?


32 posted on 11/08/2011 9:58:27 AM PST by MaxMax
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To: ixtl

If Earth was tilted mach further than it is now, the ‘seasons’ would be extreme, to say the least. There would probably be only two: Fire and Ice. .....


33 posted on 11/08/2011 11:07:08 AM PST by Red Badger (Obama's number one economics advisor must be a Magic Eight Ball.................)
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