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Hubble Sees Something Huge Coming Out of Uranus (VIDEO)

This artwork, by Julian Baum, shows the Voyager 2 spaceprobe less than an hour from closest approach to the planet Uranus on 24 January 1986. Uranus is one of the four great gas giants. It is unique in that its equator, along with its moons and tenuous ring system, is tilted at 98 degrees to the plane of the Solar System. Because of this, Voyager's encounter with the planet and its satellites lasted only about six hours. It also means that in alternate seasons Uranus' poles and equator in turn face the Sun. Uranus orbits the Sun once in 84 years and, at present, the planet's south pole faces the Sun, in the midst of a 21-year long summer.

Scientists from NASA have been studying Uranus through the Hubble telescope and during this time they have seen many bursts of solar wind hit the planet. Then they realized that this wind was behind huge intense auroras coming of Uranus which then circled the planet. It was also said that the magnetic poles that disappeared in Uranus during 1986 have now been found.


The findings are one part of a study that is ongoing into auroras found on other planets. Just as when they happen on Earth, the light shows are spectacular on other planets. They are caused by the solar winds charged particles or cosmic rays that get caught by the ionosphere of the planet and magnetic field and then crash into the gas particles, which then creates bursts of light, which are seen by astronomers or the inhabitants of the planet. Some of the first pictures of Uranus were taken by Voyager 2 in 1986 and since that time NASA has relied on telescopes that are based on Earth for pictures. The Hubble telescope first took photographs of Uranus when the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph that had been installed on the telescope was repaired and it went back into service. In 2012 and 2014 ultraviolet photos had been taken. The timing was in coordination with two huge bursts of wind tracked to Uranus which caused the huge auroras.


The astronomers managed to look away from the magnificent auroras and relocated the magnetic poles of Uranus; these had been lost just after Voyager 2 discovered them. As Uranus is nothing more than a huge bluish gas ball that is far from Earth scientists hadn’t been able to pinpoint any features to be used for reference in finding the poles again. However, NASA said they are now confident of the coordinates of the poles. The Uranus aurora images were revealed recently and they are a mixture of the old images and the new ones. The photograph of the orbiting disk of the planet came from the photos that Voyager 2 took and the aurora came from the pictures taken by the Hubble telescope. Both sets offer a stunning look at a planet that brings about many giggles due to the mispronounced name.