Uranus is the seventh planet in the solar system. It is a gas giant, although scientists sometimes refer to both Uranus and Neptune as ice giants. This is because the atmospheres of these planets, which consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, contain more frozen volatiles than the larger gas giants.
Uranus has a ring system, many moons and is the coldest planet in the solar system. The lowest temperature there is minus 224 degrees Celsius. In addition to the coldest atmosphere, Uranus also has its axis of rotation, which is strongly tilted and lies roughly in the plane of the planet’s orbit. Therefore, its poles are located where the equator of most planets in the solar system is. This causes confusion with the seasons compared to other planets, as the planet’s poles experience many years of continuous sunlight followed by the same number of years of complete darkness (Uranus takes 84 years to revolve around the sun).
What could cause Uranus to tilt sideways? Scientists believe Uranus may have collided with an object about twice the size of Earth in the ancient past (more on this in the text: Uranus was hit by an object twice the size of Earth. catastrophe billions of years ago).
When it comes to rings, Saturn has the most spectacular rings in the solar system, but other planets like Jupiter and Neptune also have them. Uranus also has it. There are 13 known rings of Uranus, but they are largely a mystery to scientists. Not much is known about it because it is visible only with the most powerful telescopes. Therefore, they were discovered only in 1977 (the rings of Jupiter were discovered in 1979, and Neptune in 1984).
In a recent note, astronomers turned the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) “infrared view” on Uranus, showing the seventh planet from the sun in a whole new light.
Spring on Uranus
When Voyager 2 photographed Uranus, visible-light images showed a nearly smooth, featureless bluish-green orb. At infrared wavelengths and with Webb’s greater sensitivity, we see more detail, showing just how dynamic Uranus’ atmosphere really is.
Uranus’ unique rotational axis means that its north pole is perfectly visible to an observer from Earth. In the image, the large, bright region to the planet’s right is clouds over the planet’s north pole. Currently, the South Pole is out of sight, on the other side of the planet. It is now late spring at the north pole of Uranus. Summer is expected in 2028.
picture. NASA, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, STScI, and J. DePasquale (STScI)
The polar cap-like clouds in the image are unique to Uranus. They seem to appear when the pole comes in direct contact with sunlight in the summer and disappear in the fall. The data collected from Webb may help scientists understand the currently mysterious mechanism behind this feature. Bright clouds can also be seen in other parts of the planet. It may be related to thunderstorm activity.
There are 13 known rings of Uranus. You can see 11 of them in the new web panels. Some of the images are so bright that they seem to merge into a larger ring. Nine of the rings are classified as the planet’s main rings, and two are faint dust rings.
The two innermost rings that are not visible in the images are, according to NASA specialists, very faint. These rings were discovered in Hubble Space Telescope images in 2007, when the planet tilted so far from Earth that all of its rings were visible. It will be several decades before astronomers get another view like this. All rings of Uranus are shown approximately every 42 years.
Some of the 27 known moons of Uranus also appear in Webb’s new images. While most are too small to see, the brightest six are quite visible.
More planet observations using JWST are planned soon.
“Infuriatingly humble musicaholic. Problem solver. Reader. Hardcore writer. Alcohol evangelist.”
Longer life and more efficient batteries. Scientists have solved an important problem
Jupiter’s moon is very close up. IU looks really cool
Secret meeting of the elites. They will decide the future of artificial intelligence