Astronomers at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory detected the first X-rays from the planet Uranus.
The researchers used ice giant observations taken in 2002 and 2017 to detect radiation as part of a new study published Tuesday in the journal Geophysical Research.
In further investigation and analysis, they saw clear X-ray detections from the first observations, and a possible X-ray flare could occur 15 years later.
Scientists believe the Sun may be the driving force behind Uranus to emit X-rays.
Previously, astronomers observed that both Jupiter and Saturn emit X-ray light from the sun.
However, as the study’s authors said they believed the detected X-rays were likely from “scattering”;, another X-ray source was also promising.
Like Saturn, they say Uranus’s rings may produce their own X-rays, or even the planet’s aurora, a phenomenon created when high-energy particles interact with the atmosphere.
“Uranus is surrounded by charged particles such as electrons and protons in the nearby space environment,” wrote Chandra X-ray Observatory in Emission. X-rays “
X-rays are emitted in Earth’s Aurora, and Jupiter has Aurora as well, although X-rays from Jupiter’s Aurora come from two sources.
However, NASA’s release notes are almost identical that researchers remain uncertain about what caused the Aurora on Uranus.
The agency writes that the abnormal orientation of the spinning axis and its magnetic field could cause the planet’s Aurora. “Complicated and unusually volatile”
Uranus’ axis of rotation is almost parallel to its path around the Sun, unlike the axis of other planets in the solar system – and while Uranus is tilted sideways, its magnetic field is arranged by a different number.
“Determining the X-ray source from Uranus can help astronomers better understand how exotic objects in space, such as growing black holes and neutron stars, emit X-rays,” NASA wrote.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun in the Solar System. There are two sets of rings around the equator. Its diameter is four times that of the Earth.
As Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to be flown by Uranus, astronomers have relied on a telescope like Chandra to learn more about the cool planet, which is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium.