All the planets of the Solar system revolve around the Sun in a common plane and are oriented relative to themselves it almost the same. Only Uranus stands out in this series, rotating almost on its side: its axis declined by as much as 98 degrees.
Hard to believe that it happened “by itself”, and astronomers have long been suggesting that this situation is an ice giant came after one or several collisions with other large bodies.
The details of that distant catastrophe opened the computer simulation conducted recently by Jacob Kegerreis (Jacob Kegerreis) from the British Durham University and his colleagues. The supercomputer has allowed details to shortchange more than 50 scripts for impact and to consider options leading to the desired result — the same orientation and speed as that of the present Uranium. This researchers write in an article published in The Astrophysical Journal.
The work confirmed previous calculations about the size of the mystical body: apparently, it was exceptionally large — at least twice heavier than Earth. The collision occurred about four billion years ago, in the young Solar system. The main blow fell on a tangent and changed the rotation of Uranus, but allowed him to retain at least 90 percent of its atmosphere.
He left other traces — for example, in the form of rings and the many satellites of the giant planets. Their plane of rotation is also tilted relative to the plane of the Solar system because they formed from the material trapped in orbit after the collision.
Distant, “irregular” moons of Uranus, showing other variants of the orbits, could be captured after the event. In addition, such a blow could transfer a lot of energy into the bowels of the planet, creating in them the melted sections of ice and rock.
This, in turn, can explain the specific features of the magnetosphere of Uranus: it is strongly deflected from the axis of rotation that is offset from its geometric center by about one-third of the radius of the planet and generally asymmetrical.
This anomaly could also occur long after the collision.