New research finds evidence that Uranus was knocked askew by collision with ancient ice planet

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The Solar System's seventh planet Uranus is a ringed gas giant with a horizontal rotational axis, or tilt, that is unique in the solar system.

According to a pre-print study, scientists may have uncovered new evidence that explains the gas giant's idiosyncratic rotation.

Writing in a press release, the research team says Uranus's tilt is highly usual, as most other planets in the system — such as Earth and Jupiter — rotate with an axis close to perpendicular to their the orbit.

According to the research team, during the early Solar System, an ice planet as large as three times the mass of Earth may have impacted Uranus and knocked the gas giant off its axis.

Although the ice planet would have vaporized on impact, the team says their model shows that the hypothetical impact would lead to the formation of Uranus's ring system and moons, which they dubbed the smoking gun for the collision.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Uranus's axial tilt is flat with its orbit
2. Most planets in the system rotate on a near perpendicular axis
3. Impact with ice planet may have knocked Uranus off its original tilt
4. Model shows the impact would form Uranus's system of rings and moons

VOICEOVER (in English):
"The Solar System's seventh planet Uranus is a ringed gas giant with a horizontal rotational axis, or tilt, that is unique in the solar system."

"According to a pre-print study, scientists may have uncovered new evidence that explains the gas giant's idiosyncratic rotation."

"Writing in a press release, the research team says Uranus's tilt is highly usual, as most other planets in the system — such as Earth and Jupiter — rotate with an axis close to perpendicular to their the orbit."

"According to the research team says that during the early Solar System, an ice planet as large as three times the mass of Earth may have impacted Uranus and knocked the gas giant off its axis."
"Although the ice planet would have vaporized on impact, the team says their model shows that the hypothetical impact would lead to the formation of Uranus's ring system and moons, which they dubbed the smoking gun for the collision."

SOURCES: Arxiv.org, Tokyo Institute of Technology
https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.13582
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/tiot-mou040120.php