Uranus’ unusual rotation creates light switch effect

In News

A discovery was made based on the data from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft that flew closely past Uranus the seventh planet from the Sun more than 30 years ago in January 1986.

The Study

  • Uranus’ magnetosphere, the region defined by the icy planet’s magnetic field and the material trapped inside it gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet.
  • When the magnetised solar wind meets this tumbling field in the right way, it can reconnect and Uranus’ magnetosphere goes from open to closed to open on a daily basis.
  • Magnetosphere is open in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into it.
  • It is later closed, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.
  • Uranus’ rapid rotational change in field strength and orientation lead to a periodic open-close-open-close scenario as it tumbles through the solar wind.

Reconnection of magnetic fields is a phenomenon throughout the solar system. It is one reason for the Earth’s auroras.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Awareness in the fields of  Space

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s