There's a giant magnetic bubble leaking atmosphere from Uranus

Cold Ethyl

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Super Moderator
Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, is a truly odd place. Now it just got odder.

Not happy with being the coldest planet of them all and the only planet in the solar system to spin on its side (every 17 hours and 14 minutes), the “ice giant” now appears to be a “wobbly magnetic oddball” that’s leaking its atmosphere into space.
The culprit, reports a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, is the planet’s off-center magnetic field, which is tilted relative to the planet’s rotation axis. It produces a wobbly, unpredictable magnetosphere—the region of space surrounding Uranus where the dominant magnetic field is the magnetic field of the planet.

Magnetic fields are generally thought to protect a planet’s atmosphere from escaping—largely by providing protection from the solar wind coming from the Sun—but they can also do the opposite.
The structure, the way that it moves ..,” said Gina DiBraccio, space physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, project scientist for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, and first author of the new paper. “Uranus is really on its own.”

The new discovery—and what’s getting planetary scientists excited—is a plasmoid at Uranus.
What is a plasmoid?
It’s a giant magnetic bubble that may have been whisking Uranus’ atmosphere out to space. A plasmoid is a structure of plasma (electrified gas) in a magnetic bubble in the magnetosphere of a planet. It’s thought that a cylindrical plasmoid discovered at Uranus—which is at least 127,000 x 250,000 miles across—could be responsible for draining ions from the planet’s atmosphere, therefore causing it to lose mass.
How was the plasmoid found?
The new data comes an old source—a really old source. Only one spacecraft has flown by Uranus—the Voyager 2 spacecraft on January 24 1986, the source of all the photos we have of the planet—and it was only in situ fleetingly.

During its brief flyby from 50,600 miles/81,433 kilometers it discovered two new rings, 11 new moons and temperatures below minus 353º F/-214º C. This new discovery of a plasmoid was made using data downloaded from Voyager 2’s magnetometer, which monitored the strength and direction of the magnetic fields in the vicinity of Uranus.
Remarkably, the plasmoid showed-up for only 60 seconds of Voyager 2’s 45-hour-long flyby of Uranus, so another visit by a spacecraft to the ice giant would be helpful.

Can we go back to Uranus to check?
Yes, but only if we get moving. “Imagine if one spacecraft just flew through this room and tried to characterize the entire Earth,” said DiBraccio. “Obviously it’s not going to show you anything about what the Sahara or Antarctica is like.” A report in Nature recently stated that a planetary alignment will provide a window to visit and Neptune in the after a slingshot around Jupiter. However, the spacecraft would need to leave Earth by the early 2030s to get to Uranus by 2043.

That won’t be an easy deadline to meet, but some kind of mission to Uranus remains a strong possibility. The lure of the least-known, oddest planet in the solar system will just be too much for planetary scientists to resist.
 

Drives backwards

It's exactly the same, but totally different
Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, is a truly odd place. Now it just got odder.

Not happy with being the coldest planet of them all and the only planet in the solar system to spin on its side (every 17 hours and 14 minutes), the “ice giant” now appears to be a “wobbly magnetic oddball” that’s leaking its atmosphere into space.
The culprit, reports a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, is the planet’s off-center magnetic field, which is tilted relative to the planet’s rotation axis. It produces a wobbly, unpredictable magnetosphere—the region of space surrounding Uranus where the dominant magnetic field is the magnetic field of the planet.

Magnetic fields are generally thought to protect a planet’s atmosphere from escaping—largely by providing protection from the solar wind coming from the Sun—but they can also do the opposite.
The structure, the way that it moves ..,” said Gina DiBraccio, space physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, project scientist for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, and first author of the new paper. “Uranus is really on its own.”

The new discovery—and what’s getting planetary scientists excited—is a plasmoid at Uranus.
What is a plasmoid?
It’s a giant magnetic bubble that may have been whisking Uranus’ atmosphere out to space. A plasmoid is a structure of plasma (electrified gas) in a magnetic bubble in the magnetosphere of a planet. It’s thought that a cylindrical plasmoid discovered at Uranus—which is at least 127,000 x 250,000 miles across—could be responsible for draining ions from the planet’s atmosphere, therefore causing it to lose mass.
How was the plasmoid found?
The new data comes an old source—a really old source. Only one spacecraft has flown by Uranus—the Voyager 2 spacecraft on January 24 1986, the source of all the photos we have of the planet—and it was only in situ fleetingly.

During its brief flyby from 50,600 miles/81,433 kilometers it discovered two new rings, 11 new moons and temperatures below minus 353º F/-214º C. This new discovery of a plasmoid was made using data downloaded from Voyager 2’s magnetometer, which monitored the strength and direction of the magnetic fields in the vicinity of Uranus.
Remarkably, the plasmoid showed-up for only 60 seconds of Voyager 2’s 45-hour-long flyby of Uranus, so another visit by a spacecraft to the ice giant would be helpful.

Can we go back to Uranus to check?
Yes, but only if we get moving. “Imagine if one spacecraft just flew through this room and tried to characterize the entire Earth,” said DiBraccio. “Obviously it’s not going to show you anything about what the Sahara or Antarctica is like.” A report in Nature recently stated that a planetary alignment will provide a window to visit and Neptune in the after a slingshot around Jupiter. However, the spacecraft would need to leave Earth by the early 2030s to get to Uranus by 2043.

That won’t be an easy deadline to meet, but some kind of mission to Uranus remains a strong possibility. The lure of the least-known, oddest planet in the solar system will just be too much for planetary scientists to resist.


At first, of course, I thought you were talking about Graz, but this is actually pretty interestingd

The other planets in our solar system do affect our Earth in many ways. Can these latest things happening affect our planet? If yes, how so? And one question I am REALLY interested in knowing, even if you don't know an answer to it...
Being as it's not known what the physical make up of the planet is, IF there's solidity to it's composition, with this happening, could it be possible to continue on that wobble to the point that it starts breaking apart and sending planet sized meteors at other planets, including ours?
Thank you for the post Cold Ethyl 😃
 
Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, is a truly odd place. Now it just got odder.

Not happy with being the coldest planet of them all and the only planet in the solar system to spin on its side (every 17 hours and 14 minutes), the “ice giant” now appears to be a “wobbly magnetic oddball” that’s leaking its atmosphere into space.
The culprit, reports a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, is the planet’s off-center magnetic field, which is tilted relative to the planet’s rotation axis. It produces a wobbly, unpredictable magnetosphere—the region of space surrounding Uranus where the dominant magnetic field is the magnetic field of the planet.

Magnetic fields are generally thought to protect a planet’s atmosphere from escaping—largely by providing protection from the solar wind coming from the Sun—but they can also do the opposite.
The structure, the way that it moves ..,” said Gina DiBraccio, space physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, project scientist for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, and first author of the new paper. “Uranus is really on its own.”

The new discovery—and what’s getting planetary scientists excited—is a plasmoid at Uranus.
What is a plasmoid?
It’s a giant magnetic bubble that may have been whisking Uranus’ atmosphere out to space. A plasmoid is a structure of plasma (electrified gas) in a magnetic bubble in the magnetosphere of a planet. It’s thought that a cylindrical plasmoid discovered at Uranus—which is at least 127,000 x 250,000 miles across—could be responsible for draining ions from the planet’s atmosphere, therefore causing it to lose mass.
How was the plasmoid found?
The new data comes an old source—a really old source. Only one spacecraft has flown by Uranus—the Voyager 2 spacecraft on January 24 1986, the source of all the photos we have of the planet—and it was only in situ fleetingly.

During its brief flyby from 50,600 miles/81,433 kilometers it discovered two new rings, 11 new moons and temperatures below minus 353º F/-214º C. This new discovery of a plasmoid was made using data downloaded from Voyager 2’s magnetometer, which monitored the strength and direction of the magnetic fields in the vicinity of Uranus.
Remarkably, the plasmoid showed-up for only 60 seconds of Voyager 2’s 45-hour-long flyby of Uranus, so another visit by a spacecraft to the ice giant would be helpful.

Can we go back to Uranus to check?
Yes, but only if we get moving. “Imagine if one spacecraft just flew through this room and tried to characterize the entire Earth,” said DiBraccio. “Obviously it’s not going to show you anything about what the Sahara or Antarctica is like.” A report in Nature recently stated that a planetary alignment will provide a window to visit and Neptune in the after a slingshot around Jupiter. However, the spacecraft would need to leave Earth by the early 2030s to get to Uranus by 2043.

That won’t be an easy deadline to meet, but some kind of mission to Uranus remains a strong possibility. The lure of the least-known, oddest planet in the solar system will just be too much for planetary scientists to resist.
So THAT is why I had a massive iron chair hanging from my ass this morning!
 
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