Last updated: April 4 – 2021. 12:17 PM
In the first scientific discovery of its kind, astronomers announced the discovery of X-rays coming from the planet Uranus, in results that could help them learn more about the seventh planet from the Sun.
And in a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Geophysical Research, scientists from the United Kingdom, France, America and China said they had discovered X-rays emitted from the planet thanks to visual images taken by NASA’s X-ray Chandra Observatory, a space telescope.
NASA said that they studied the observations made by the Chandra Observatory in 2002 and 2017, and discovered X-rays at the first observation and the brightness of X-rays in those taken 15 years later.
Until these results, Uranus and Neptune were the only planets in the solar system where X-rays were not detected, the magazine states.
Uranus is a giant ice planet about four times the diameter of the Earth and is made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium.
Scattered X-rays have been seen from the sun on both Jupiter and Saturn, but for Uranus or Neptune this is the first time.
As is the case with the planets Jupiter and Saturn, NASA said that the reason for the emission of X-rays from Uranus is the “sun”.
“More exotic objects in space”
However, the statement of the American agency adds that “there are confusing hints that there is at least one other source of X-rays”, which, if confirmed:
“That could have interesting implications for understanding Uranus.”
The planet’s rings can produce X-rays, because Uranus is surrounded by electrons and protons in near space, which, if they collide with the rings, can cause them to glow and emit X-rays.
Another possibility, NASA said, is that X-rays came from aurora borealis on the planet, but scientists are not sure what causes aurora borealis on Uranus, and because of its unusual axis, there could be something “unusually complex and changeable.” “
And NASA added that work on determining the source of X-rays could give astronomers clues about “more exotic objects in space, such as the development of black holes and neutron stars.”