Uranus’ unusual properties due to ancient giant icy impact
Tokyo: Early in the history of our solar system, Uranus was struck by a small icy planet — roughly 1-3 times the mass of the Earth — which tipped the young planet over, and left behind unusual properties in its moons and ring system, says a study.
The ice giant Uranus’ unusual attributes have long puzzled scientists. All of the planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun in the same direction and in the same plane, which astronomers believe is a vestige of how our solar system formed from a spinning disc of gas and dust. Most of the planets in our solar system also rotate in the same direction, with their poles orientated perpendicular to the plane the planets revolve in.
However, uniquely among all the planets, Uranus’ is tilted over about 98 degrees. Uranus also has a ring system, like Saturn’s, and a slew of 27 moons which orbit the planet around its equator, so they too are tipped over.