Using Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers detect X-ray emission from Uranus
One theory is that the Sun is behind the emission of the X-rays while another theory suggests that the rings are causing them.
Astronomers have found that Uranus might be emitting X-rays using the Chandra X-ray Observatory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This new information can help scientists learn more about the seventh planet from the Sun and the coldest planet in our solar system. The observations that were studied by the researchers, were taken in 2002 and then in 2017 by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. As per the NASA press release, the researchers clearly detected the presence of X-rays in the 2002 observation. Later in 201, a possible flare of X-rays was detected.
The magnetic field and spin axis of the ice planet makes it an interesting subject for studying X-rays observation. Uranus is the only planet in our solar system that rotates on its side, making it very different to all our other planets.
According to the astronomers, the reason behind the emission of X-rays from Uranus could be the Sun, as observed previously in Jupiter and Saturn’s cases. However, astronomers involved in the study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, have also found indications that the rings of Uranus could be producing these X-rays themselves. This possibility has been proposed keeping in mind that the rings of Saturn also scatter X-rays.
Another possible source of X-ray on the planet could be auroras, which are the polar lights caused by electrons travelling through the magnetic field on Earth. They are also found on Jupiter. Although the cause of aurora on Uranus is not yet clear, the latest observations can help astronomers in understanding the reason behind this phenomenon.
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