For the first time, scientists find X-ray emission from Uranus

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  • During the study, scientists compared observations of the Chandra Space Telescope, which is managed by Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre dating back to 2002 and 2017.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON APR 05, 2021 08:55 AM IST

Uranus, which is the seventh planet from the sun, is reflecting X-rays, according to a new study by scientists published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The study, which analysed two visuals of the planet, marks the first time that X-ray activity has been discovered on the planet. However, the reason for the reflection of the X-rays has not been clear yet. “While the authors of the new Uranus study initially expected that most of the X-rays detected would also be from scattering, there are tantalizing hints that at least one other source of X-rays is present,” according to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) release. “If further observations confirm this, it could have intriguing implications for understanding Uranus,” the release added.

Method used for the study

During the study, scientists compared observations of the Chandra Space Telescope, which is managed by Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre dating back to 2002 and 2017. The analysis of the 2002 observation of the planet depicted X-rays clearly. When it was compared to the 2017 observations, the study found a possible flare of the X-rays. The detection of the X-rays is significant as they have been detected in other planets of the solar system, except Uranus and Neptune, the study said. The study also added that understand the X-ray emission could provide more information about the characteristics of the planet and its composition.

Cause of the X-rays emission

There are two plausible reasons for the emission of X-rays. The first, according to Nasa, could be the Sun which has a similar effect on planets like Jupiter and Saturn that scatter the X-ray light which is given by the Sun.

The second reason for the X-ray emission could be that Uranus’s rings could themselves produce them. Nasa said that this could be the reason for the emission as the rings of the planet collide with charged particles which causes them to glow in X-rays.

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