(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the National Center for Scientific Research of France have found the reason for the extreme tilt of Uranus. Recall that it is 98 degrees relative to the plane of the planet.
It used to be that Uranus “lay down” on its side after a collision with a large cosmic body. But French researchers proposed a new hypothesis. According to her, the position of Uranus is associated with the influence of its satellite.
A few years ago, the team determined that the outward migration of satellites is increasing Jupiter’s tilt. In a few billion years, it will increase from the current 3 percent to 37 percent.
Saturn’s 26.7 degree tilt has also been linked to the rapid migration of its largest moon, Titan. At the same time, the process had no effect on the speed of rotation of the planet.
As part of the new study, scientists have created a computer model of Uranus and its moons to determine how small bodies affect the position of the planet.
The results showed that even a small satellite (half the size of the Moon) is capable of tilting Uranus by 90 degrees. But for this, he should move away from the planet at a speed of more than 6 centimeters per year.
Scientists have suggested that the “culprit” of the tilt of Uranus could be a satellite the size of Ganymede. When the tilt reached 80 degrees, its orbit destabilized, and after a chaotic rotation, it crashed into the surface of the planet.
After the collision, Uranus remained in the same tilted position. The authors emphasized that they could not reliably prove their hypothesis. But it sounds “promising” – in particular, it explains why there are no traces of a major cataclysm on the planet.
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