Tag: planet uranus

Extreme Storms on Uranus Puzzle Astronomers


Infrared Uranus
These infrared images of the planet Uranus show a white spot that is actually a massive storm on the planet. This image was recorded by the Keck II telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii on Aug. 6, 2014 in the 2.2-micron wavelength.


Excerpt from  space.com
By Elizabeth Howell

Uranus is finally having some summer storms, seven years after the planet reached its closest approach to the sun, leaving scientists wondering why the massive storms are so late.

The usually quiet gas giant now has such "incredibly active" weather that some of the features are even visible to amateurs, said Imke de Pater, the project's lead researcher and an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley. Astronomers first announced the extreme storms on Uranus in August, and have been trying to understand them ever since.

This is by far the most active weather de Pater's team has seen on Uranus in the past decade, examining its storms and northern convective features. It also paints a different picture of the quiet planet Voyager 2 saw when the NASA spacecraft flew by in 1986.


uranus
An infrared composite image of the two hemispheres of Uranus obtained with Keck Telescope adaptive optics. The component colors of blue, green, and red were obtained from images made at near infrared wavelengths of 1.26, 1.62, and 2.1 microns respectively. The images were obtained on July 11 and 12, 2004. The North pole is at 4 o'clock. Lawrence Sromovsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison/W.W. Keck Observatory

"This type of activity would have been expected in 2007, when Uranus' once-every-42-year equinox occurred and the sun shined directly on the equator," research co-investigator Heidi Hammel, of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, said in a statement. "But we predicted that such activity would have died down by now. Why we see these incredible storms now is beyond anybody's guess."

But here's where the mystery comes in: As far as anyone can tell, Uranus has no source of internal heat. Sunlight is thought to be responsible for changes in its atmosphere, such as storms. But the sun's light is currently weak in Uranus' northern hemisphere, so scientists are puzzled as to why that area is so active today.

 


Huge storms on Uranus


Based on the colors and structure of the storm spotted by amateurs, professional astronomers believe it could hint at a vortex deeper in the atmosphere — similar to phenomena spotted on Jupiter, such as the Great Red Spot.

Follow-up observations with the Keck II telescope revealed that the storm was still raging, although it had changed its shape, and possibly its intensity.

Also contributing to the effort was the Hubble Space Telescope, which examined the entire planet of Uranus Oct. 14 in several wavelengths. The observations revealed storms spanning several altitudes, over a distance of about 5,592 miles (9,000 kilometers).

"If, indeed, these features are high-altitude clouds generated by flow perturbations associated with a deeper vortex system, such drastic fluctuations in intensity would indeed be possible," said Larry Sromovsky, a planetary scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who performed the newer work.

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Exoplanet is first ‘ice giant’ found outside our solar system

Exoplanet is first ‘ice giant’ found outside our solar system

The planet orbits one member of a binary star system 25,000 light-years from Earth.


space.gotnewswire.com


According to an Ohio State University (OSU) statement, a team led by OSU researcher Radek Poleski has discovered the first exoplanet that resembles the planet Uranus in our own solar system. The exoplanet falls into the category of ‘ice giants’, and adds another type of world to the exoplanet roster, which already includes rocky planets similar to Earth and gas giants akin to Jupiter.
The exoplanet is located in a binary star system approximately 25,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. One of the member stars is about two-thirds the mass of the Sun, while the other is about one-sixth as massive. The exoplanet itself is four times the mass of Uranus and orbits the larger of the two stars at nearly the same distance as Uranus revolves around the Sun.
The exoplanet and its home star system were found with the 1.3-meter Warsaw Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, in the course of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE). The star system was discovered in light magnified by an intervening gravitational microlens, and object between Earth and the star system; the light from the more distant object, the binary system in this case, is magnified by the gravity of the microlensing object.
It was actually two separate microlensing events, one in 2008 and the other in 2010, that revealed the existence of the binary system and its ice giant planet. OGLE’s database currently includes 13,000 microlensing events; Poleski is designing software to scrutinize the database for indications of additional exoplanets in other solar systems.
“Only microlensing can detect these cold ice giants that, like Uranus and Neptune, are far away from their host stars. This discovery demonstrates that microlensing is capable of discovering planets in very wide orbits,” Poleski explained.
“We were lucky to see the signal from the planet, its host star, and the companion star. If the orientation had been different, we would have seen only the planet, and we probably would have called it a free-floating planet.”
The new research has been published online in The Astrophysical Journal.

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Weekly Forecast: June 12 – 18, 2011

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Sunday, 12 June, 2011  (posted 13 June, 2011)

The Karmic Tools Weekly Forecast covers the current planetary transits which affect people in different ways and to various degr...

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Uranus in Aries: The Revolution of Consciousness

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The greatest revolution in human history begins March 11th, 2011 with the planet Uranus' entrance into the constellation of Aries. This is a pinnacle moment in human history that will come to be known as the Revolution of Consciou...

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Weekly Forecast: February 27 – March 5, 2011

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Monday, 28 February, 2011

The Karmic Tools Weekly Forecast covers the current planetary transits which affect people in different ways and to various degrees of intensity.  Take notice ...

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Weekly Forecast: December 5 – 11, 2010

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Sunday, 5 December, 2010  (posted 5 December, 2010)

The Karmic Tools Weekly Forecast covers the current planetary transits which affect people in different ways and to various d...

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Weekly Forecast: November 21-27, 2010

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Monday, 22 November, 2010 

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The Karmic Tools Weekly Forecast covers the current planetary transits which affect people in diff...

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