After decades of waiting, Uranus’ north pole can once again be seen from Earth – and astronomy is immediately spotting it there.
Pasadena – Uranus is one of eight planets in our solar system and has been little explored – mainly due to its great distance from the sun. The average distance between the Sun and Uranus is about 2.9 billion km. NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe just visited Uranus and collected data during its flyby of the ice giant. But that may soon change, because a mission to Uranus is high on astronomy’s wish list. The researchers who compiled this list believe that Uranus is one of the most fascinating objects in our solar system and that it holds many mysteries that still need to be solved.
For this reason, Uranus is currently a focus of research. Scientists are searching for topics to study in a future Uranus mission, as well as clues as to which instruments would be most useful for such a mission. Recently, the James Webb Space Telescope revealed Uranus’ rings, and data from the Voyager mission revealed a mystery about Uranus’ moons: There are at least four large moons that may harbor inner oceans. These can also be studied in more detail over the course of the new mission if one knows in advance what tools will be required.
Polar vortices have been detected at the north pole of the planet Uranus
While observing Uranus with the Very Large Array (VLA) telescope, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) made a surprising discovery. There appears to be a polar vortex at the ice giant’s north pole. The research group discovered this through radio data collected by the VLA. The data showed that the air over Uranus’ north pole is much warmer and drier – a clear sign of a powerful hurricane.
“These observations give us more insight into the history of Uranus. It is a much more dynamic world than you might think,” said Alex Akins, lead author of the study. in the journal Geophysical Research Letters published had become. “It’s not just a blue ball of gas. There’s a lot going on under the hood,” explains the researcher in one. Communication from NASA.
Finally, Uranus turns its north pole towards Earth
The detection of a polar vortex at the north pole of Uranus was made possible by observations in 2015, 2021 and 2022. The ice giant’s north pole has only been visible from Earth again since 2015. Prior to that, it had been invisible from Earth for several decades. When the north pole of Uranus was seen from Earth, radio astronomy was still in its infancy, so it was not possible to observe it at that time.
This new discovery on the planet Uranus means that a polar vortex has been detected on all planets in our solar system that have atmospheres. The only exception is the small planet Mercury, which also has no significant atmosphere.
Machine assistance was used in this editorial article. The article was carefully screened by editor Tanya Banner before it was published.
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