(CNN) – Uranus is emitting X-rays and scientists wish to take a more in-depth look.
That is the mysterious conclusion of a brand new examine, which analyzed two pictures of the planet and found X-ray exercise for the primary time.
Astronomers noticed snapshots of the planet taken by NASA’s Chandra Observatory in 2002 and 2017, noting clear X-ray detection on the primary statement and a doable flare on the second.
The more than likely explanation for most of those X-rays is the solar; Each Jupiter and Saturn are already recognized to scatter the X-ray gentle emitted by the solar, and analysis means that Uranus does the identical.
However all of the exercise can’t be defined, and NASA has requested scientists to look at it in additional element.
“Whereas the authors of the brand new Uranus examine initially anticipated that many of the detected X-rays would even be scattering, there are tantalizing indications that at the least one different X-ray supply is current,” in response to a NASA assertion. “If extra observations affirm this, it may have fascinating implications for understanding Uranus.”
“One risk is that the rings of Uranus are producing X-rays themselves, which is the case with the rings of Saturn.”
X-rays have been detected on most planets in our photo voltaic system, however not on the so-called ice giants Uranus and Neptune, the authors wrote.
However learning X-ray emissions can present beneficial details about the traits of a planet, they defined, including that their findings can present clues concerning the “composition of the atmospheric, floor and planetary rings.”
The analysis was revealed Wednesday within the Journal of Geophysical Analysis.
NASA mentioned Uranus is a very intriguing goal for X-ray evaluation due to the “uncommon orientations” of its spin axis and its magnetic discipline.
A wealth of information concerning the planet captured in 1986 by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, the one spacecraft to fly previous the planet, nonetheless reveals tantalizing clues about its composition.
Final yr it was found that through the mission, the spacecraft additionally flew by means of a plasmoid, a large magnetic bubble that possible pinched a part of the planet’s ambiance and despatched it into house.
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