Scientists may have finally discovered why Uranus spins on its side. Its the only planet in our solar system to do so.
It might feel as if with the scientific discoveries we have been making recently that we know pretty much everything there is to know about our own solar system. That the mysteries of the universe now lie beyond our own sun and planets. That is not true. There is still so much more to discover about the planets that are closest to us.
Take Uranus and Neptune, for example. Two planets within our very own solar system that the human race still knows very little about. Saying those planets are nearby might be something of an exaggeration. Uranus, the closest of the two, is still a massive 1.6 billion miles away. That’s why we know so little about the ice giant.
We don’t even know why the planet spins on its side. It’s the only entity in our solar system that does so. However, Jacob Kegerreis of Durham University may have figured out why. The astronomer believes that Uranus was hit by a massive rock billions of years ago, reports CBC. When he says massive, he means it. The rock that collided with the planet all those years ago would have been roughly twice as big as Earth.
Kegerris even provided a simulation of what the devastating collision might have looked like. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, it’s not a process that would have taken years. In fact, the whole thing would have been over in a matter of hours. The astronomer has hypothesized that Uranus absorbed some of the planet-sized rock that collided with it, but that a lot of it is still out there somewhere in our solar system.
Discoveries about our solar system and beyond are coming thick and fast right now. It truly is a fascinating time to be alive if you are intrigued by the infinite amount that there is to discover in the universe. The discoveries relating to Uranus will likely keep coming too as scientists plan to send probes to the planet in order to find out more about it.