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Uranus in the infrared

Uranus in the infrared

The AIRTV telescope (Infrared telescope attachment) Della NASA immortalized Uranus Like we haven’t seen it before. The created image shows the entire globe of the planet in the infrared spectrum that scientists hope they can use to shed light on its mysteries. twilight Born in magnetic field. Just like those on Earth, the aurora borealis on Uranus are triggered by the interaction of the solar wind with the planet’s magnetic field. However, the axis around which Uranus rotates is almost perpendicular to the Sun. This property causes the ice giant to orbit our star on one side, like a rolling ball, with it facing the poles for about a quarter of the time. long year.

Moreover I magnetic poles Uranus is not compatible with it geographical polesAs on Earth, Jupiter or Saturn, but they are tilted by 60 degrees from them. As a result, the planet’s aurora borealis extends from the northern hemisphere towards the equator until it reaches the southern hemisphere. To visualize the entire surface of Uranus, the scientists divided their observations into three windows of eight hours each, spread over three days. Once the data was combined, they obtained a detailed map of the surface.

Previously, the surface of Uranus had only been captured in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum by a NASA mission Voyager 2, in 1986. In 2011 came the turn of Hubble Space Telescope Who first discovered the giant and magnificent aurora borealis. This twilight It varies not only with the time of day but also with the seasons of the year, depending on which side of the planet is lit by the sun. The planet corresponds to 84 years on earth. The observations that will be made in the coming decades will be crucial to discovering what this mysterious planet hides.

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Image source: NASA/JPL, Uranus spotted by Voyager 2