back to article Violent moon mishap will tear Uranus a new ring or two

Four of the 27 moons orbiting Uranus are on a collision course and will smash into each other, creating new rings around the distant ice giant. The prediction [PDF], published by researchers at the University of Idaho and Wellesley College, came from a study into the unusual behavior of one of Uranus' smallest moons Cressida. …

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"in a few million years"

Well, that gives us a bit of time to gather the proper funding then . . .

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Re: "in a few million years"

Quid a week in a whisky bottle should do it....

I saw Cressida written down and wondered how many Brazilians were going to be shot.

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New Uranus?

What happened to the old one?

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Re: New Uranus?

It was replaced one dark and stormy night by a new, and improved one.

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Millions of years?

Is it wrong to give it a push so we can see it sooner?

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Well, i hope it happens ...

In the next 4 to 20 years, i'll still be around to read news of the event.

I'm reminded of a geology program i watched about the 4km long land fissure in Hawaii.

The geologist explained that the fissure is widening and when it eventually gives way, which it will, and sinks the 15,000+ ft to the ocean floor, it will have such force that a tidal wave 1000ft high will wash over Australia.

Rather gleefully he added that he hopes it happens in his lifetime.

Presumably from a safe place in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

It'll likely wipe out the West Coast (and Baja) to boot. Well ... The West Coast up to the coastal range, anyway. No more Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco etc. No great loss. (I *think* I'm high enough to be out of direct harm's way ... The aftermath will be hell for survivors, though.)

When a similar thing happens in the Azores, the entire East Coast of the US will no longer exist. Again, no great loss (hopefully DC will be in session!). And again, the aftermath will be hell for survivors.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

Perhaps if the Norks had any subtlety about them, maybe that's (the fissure) where they should aim their first nuke ICBM, if ever they get accurate guidance systems.

Plausible deniability.

I hope neither they, nor ISIS, are reading this.

There again, agreeing with your sentiment, does anyone have their contact details?

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

Did the geologist also talk about Atlantis? Because that scenario sounds about as likely to happen as Godzilla climbing out of the waters to destroy the island. In case you hadn't noticed, the other Hawaiian islands that were formed by the same moving fissure are all still there, slowly eroding away. Please look up the "Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain" for a more realistic idea of what happens to the island chain as the fissure moves.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

"The geologist explained that the fissure is widening and when it eventually gives way, which it will, and sinks the 15,000+ ft to the ocean floor, it will have such force that a tidal wave 1000ft high will wash over Australia."

Not to belittle these land slip waves, but you have been handed the wrong idea about their destructive potential. Sure, they may start out 1000 meters high, and anyone nearby that's unlucky enough to be in the way is history. But the energy of the biggest conceivable land slip is not going to lay waste to a continent far, far away over the horizon.

Such a land slip wave is, on the global scale, a point source, just as an earthquake is a point source for a tsunami. The same Inverse Square Law applies to both waves, so the destructive potential at various distances from the source is comparable.

Basically that 1000 meter wave is not going to spread out across a vast ocean basin and remain 1000 meters high along its full length. That's just "enhanced news."

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

foxyshadis, we're not talking about the hotspot (not a fissure!) that created the islands. We're talking about bloody great chunks of those islands breaking off and dropping 10,000 feet or more onto the floor of the ocean. See reply to John for more.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

I believe you're thinking of La Palma in the Canary Islands, not an island in the Azores, and unfortunately the devastating tsunami impact was overstated by an (enjoyable) episode of Horizon. The '50m high walls of water' destroying New York theory has been somewhat over-egged - Andrew Orlowski collated many references in this story 2 years ago - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/17/bbc_trust_oks_hollywood_disaster_factuals/

It's a useful reminder of how easily an enduring urban myth can be created and how difficult it is to extinguish them later on.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

John, I don't think you understand the magnitude of these things. Take for example the Nu'uanu slide. It deposited a little rock called the Tuscaloosa Seamount, roughly 19X11X1 miles in size. It now exists roughly fifty miles from where it originated. Here's a look at it (top center of the pic).

Now, granted, that produced what could be called a mere ripple on the global scale of things. But on human terms? Even an ocean of distance won't protect anything near the shoreline from a splash that large.

They can happen, they have happened, and they will happen again. When, not if.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

No, Mr. Dumb. I meant the Azores.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

I wonder how many surfer dudes on the West coast of the States and the East coast of Oz will be hanging around to catch ' the wave to end 'em all ' ?

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

"No more Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco etc."

Arizona Bay!

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

We already have Maverick's.

(It's possessive, named after the dog of a dude who first surfed there.)

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

No, California will still exist, it's not going anywhere.

Yes, I grok the Hicks reference.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

"Arizona Bay"

I have a dim memory of a short story where, after "The Big One", instead of everything to the West of the San Andreas fault collapsing in to the sea, everything to the East did instead...

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

I wonder how many surfer dudes on the West coast of the States and the East coast of Oz will be hanging around to catch ' the wave to end 'em all

A scene like that played out in Niven and Pournelle's meteor strike novel, "Lucifer's Hammer." A surfer caught an epic wave that lasted, as I recall, until his legs were cramping and the upper floors of a skyscraper got in his path.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

"A Slight Miscalculation" by Ben Bova. See https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/89341/after-an-earthquake-in-california-everything-to-the-east-is-gone.

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

East coast Australia's geo-strata shows we get these devastating inundations on average every 200 years. Our recorded history shows we are presently on the lucky part of the first standard deviation. (I believe sea-floor slippage off New Zealand is a common culprit).

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Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

@jake - I think its La Palma in the Canaries that is 'set' to crack in two and send a tsunami to the east coast of the US - not NY or Washington as they will probably already be underwater by then.

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Devil

Re: Well, i hope it happens ...

"...does anyone have their contact details?"

Don't you just send up the Mo signal and wait?

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Entrianglement

It's intelligent life calling to tell us they want more Dangerman:

ABC logo.

I don't know how to break this to them. Maybe by sending the first minute of The Prisoner.

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Re: Entrianglement

'It's intelligent life calling to tell us they want more Dangerman:'

Dangerman? Nah, Danger Mouse - just lost an hour on Youtube and Wikipedia

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More rings around Uranus?

Well, someone had to say it.

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Facepalm

Side effects?

I wonder if there will be any Klingons as a result of this collision or will they too be wiped out.

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Mushroom

superb story title

"Violent moon mishap will tear Uranus a new ring or two"

Outstanding title, should get an award. I'm just not sure which one!

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Re: superb story title

Rectum? Damn near killed 'em!

Mines the black fleece...

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Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking

Red Dwarf, episode "White Hole"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Hole_(Red_Dwarf)

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Re: Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking

So, what is it?

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Re: Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking

@Solarflare

I've never seen one before, no one has, but I'm guessing it's a white hole.

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Re: Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking

So, what is it?

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Re: Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking

"Yes, Brain, but where would we find a duck and a hose at this time of night?"

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Collision

I have 2 questions for those with some training in astronomy:

1. When the collision happens, will this happen in geological time (over millions of years), in Star Wars' time (a million souls cried out...) or somewhere in between?

2. If this collision were happening now, would we on Earth notice it?

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Re: Collision

1) Somewhere in between. Speed is relative. Minutes, maybe tens of minutes, not seconds or days.

2) Not unless we were looking. And then not until 2 hours and 40 minutes after the fact (on average).

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Re: Collision

Thanks very much Jake.

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Anonymous Coward

within the next 4 to 100 million years

oh.

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Meh

Re: within the next 4 to 100 million years

Yeah. But does that mean within the next 4 years to 100 million years, or 4m - 100m years? 4 years = popcorn, 100 million, woo yaaay should be a good watch for, eh, who gives a fuck?

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Re: within the next 4 to 100 million years

It won't stop those thieving insurance policy bastards from putting up the premiums now though!

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Re: within the next 4 to 100 million years

"It won't stop those thieving insurance policy bastards from putting up the premiums now though"

More likely to happen when mining removes mass from the asteroid belt. Though again how quickly bodies start moving in our direction.. Perhaps a legacy for our descendants. I can't help wondering just how stable that belt is.. Enough mass for any inbuilt stability or way too spread out?

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NASA mission to smash Uranus needed

Could we do anything to speed this up?

It would be cool to see.

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Paris Hilton

Re: NASA mission to smash Uranus needed

Could we do anything to speed this up?

LMGTFY. On second thoughts maybe not from here

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Replacement?

It would be a shame to mess up the naming system. Couldn't we navigate a few major asteroids in to fill their places? Or perhaps even around Earth? A couple of decent sized, high-albedo rocks at the Moon's trojans, and we could save a fortune on street lights - permanent moonlight. (Bummer for astronomers though, so maybe not a great idea)

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Re: Replacement?

Give the names to the new rings.... if someone still remembers Shakespeare 100M years from now. I'm not sure Shakespeare will still be remembered 100 years from now.... he's not on social networks.

I'm afraid new planets moons will be named after something like social celebrities, in the next future...

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Re: Replacement?

I'm afraid new planets moons will be named after something like social celebrities,

Those occasionally smash into each other (usually only verbally, though), and try to annihilate their adversary, so that would be fitting, in a way.

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Smashing

Rocks and rings.

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less moons?

surely there'll be quite a few more, just a lot smaller

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In a way, it's weird that such an event will happen in a few million years when it didn't during the last 4,6 billions years.

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