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Uranus takes a pounding more frequently than thought

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 11:48 AM
Original message
Uranus takes a pounding more frequently than thought

Uranus isn't just gassy, it's also tilted completely sideways, such that instead of rotating like a spinning top, it rolls around the plane of the solar system more like a giant ball. Now astronomers think they know how this happened, and it means that Uranus has been pounded really, really hard not once, but twice.

Uranus' axial tilt of 98 degrees means that it's got one pole pointed almost directly at the sun, and one pole pointed out into space. As the planet revolves around the sun, these poles slowly switch places, meaning that if you lived there, you'd get 42 years of sunlight followed by 42 years of darkness, with a short time in between where things would seem almost normal.

Needless to say, this sort of behavior is a bit strange for Uranus, although nobody's quite been able to determine how it happened. New simulations from astronomers at the Observatory of Cte d'Azur in Nice, France may have just figured it out, and the answer seems to be that Uranus has suffered from not one but two giant impacts.

The only reliable way to change the tilt of one planet is to smash it with another planet of comparable size. While planets running into other planets isn't something that happens very often nowadays, back in the tempestuous youth of the solar system, it was relatively common: a planet the size of Mars hitting Earth four and a half billion years ago probably blasted off enough stuff to form the moon, for example. But with Uranus, one collision big enough to knock the entire planet sideways would also have screwed up Uranus' system of moons, which isn't the case.

more

http://dvice.com/archives/2011/10/we-now-know-why.php
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Front runner for the "Straight Line Of The Decade" award!
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 11:52 AM by rocktivity
:rofl:
rocktivity
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. I completely agree....
:rofl:

:bounce:
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
2. love the headline
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Good job they didn't name a planet
Boob.
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pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
19. Reminds me of Futurama
"Oh, I'm sorry Fry, scientists renamed Uranus years ago to rid the earth of that stupid joke once and for all. Now it's called Urectum!"
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-15-11 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
24. Me too
:rofl:
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NBachers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. OK, I'll refrain, but I'm chomping at the bit . . .
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the other one Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Contender for Thread Title of the Week.
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NRaleighLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
6. Oh boy.......n/t
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
7. I read the subject and thought it was the Ulcerative Colitis forum
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
8. Prevent the pounding: cover Uranus!
;-)
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
10. What Preparation does the next spacecraft need
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. If the pounding continues, they'd need Preparation H.
I'll be sitting in the corner if you need me...

:spank:
rocktivity
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libodem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
11. Wait. What?
Whose anus?
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Arctic Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
12. Bad, N2doc! Baaaaad!
Shakes rolled up newspaper at you.


LOL
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Hey! I just posted the news as written!
:evilgrin:
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
14. Candidate for this year's "You Call This NEWS?" Award
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 12:58 PM by rocktivity
Special Achievement Category.

And I made a screen capture in case the headline gets "revised" later on today.

:headbang:
rocktivity
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
15. And it's Gassy too!
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Maybe THAT'S why the planet is "sideways!"
Okay, last one, I promise...

:spank:
rocktivity
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rayofreason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
18. Is that a red ring around Uranus? n/t
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
20. Mind your own business.
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donheld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
21. You have no way of knowing that.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-11 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
22. LOL at the headline!
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-14-11 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
23. This just in!
This could be one of those vast corporate conspiracies!



:rofl:
rocktivity
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-15-11 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Lrrrrrr from Omicron Persei 8 hates waiting
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