Saturday , July 24 2021

Uranus X-ray observations show a mysterious source of this radiation



For the first time, scientists from NASA have managed to record X-rays from Uranus, the seventh planet in our solar system, according to their web portal.

The observations were made by scientists at the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Planet Uranus is four times larger than Earth and has two sets of rings at the equator. The rotation of this planet is interesting, which differs significantly from the rotation of other planets. It looks like Uranus “It was turned upside down.”

Not many spacecraft have flown around Uranus, the last was the Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in 1977. Scientists currently have to rely on space telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope or the Chandra Observatory. In a new study, researchers carefully examined Chandra’s observations in 2002 and 2017.

In the first observation they could clearly see the X-rays and in the observation from 2017 they saw X-ray flash capability The image, which is also on the cover photo, shows Uranus, which is marked with X-rays. But what made Uranus shine in the X-ray spectrum? According to a new study, the answer is the Sun.

Uranium
Zdroj: NASA / CXO / University College London / W. Don

Astronomers have seen a similar phenomenon to the planets Jupiter and Saturn. This pair of planets reflected the X-rays of the Sun throughout the system. They discovered that Jupiter and Saturn scatter this radiation in the same way that our atmosphere scatters sunlight. The authors of the new study assumed that the X-rays they saw in Uranus would also be scattered, but there was evidence pointing to another source.

A mysterious source?

One possibility is this Another source comes from the ring of Uranus. Similar to the rings of Saturn. This is because uranium is surrounded by charged particles which, if they collide with the rings, can emit X-rays. Another possibility is that some of the radiation comes from aurora borealis in Uranus. Astronomers have been able to observe them in the past, but at different wavelengths. But astronomers have no idea what aurora borealis can create in Uranus.

But the blue planet is an interesting target, mainly due to its unusual rotation and the shape of the magnetic field. Other planets in the solar system rotate, but the direction of the magnetic fields is almost perpendicular to the plane at which they revolve around the sun. In the case of Uranus, these axes are almost parallel. Interestingly, the planet is tilted sideways, but its magnetic field is tilted a little more. Astronomers therefore speculate that the auras on this planet may be unusually complex.

With regard to X-ray observations, Astronomers are currently trying to find a second mysterious source. If they can learn how X-rays are produced in Uranus, they can better understand, for example, black holes or neutron stars that emit large amounts of X-rays.

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