back to article No way to sugarcoat this: I'm afraid Uranus opens and closes to accept particle streams

Scientists digging through old readings from NASA’s Voyager 2 mission in 1986 have found that Uranus’ magnetic field swings open and shut like the aperture of a revolving door. Uranus doesn’t just have a funny name, it has a silly orbit too. It’s the only planet in the Solar System to lie on its side – almost 98˚ from its …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    So we can see planets around stars hundreds of light years away and tell what their atmosphere is likely to be but we can't do it in our own back yard? Seems astro-boffins still have it in for our little planet.

    1. David Knapman

      No, we still can't *see* planets around other stars. We can infer their presence by what they do to the light coming from their star.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

    1. Axman

      It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

      As the astro-boffins are running out of mythical people to name moons after, I think they should start using modern fictional characters, and the next moon of Uranus they discover should be called 'Little Finger'

      1. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

        "I think they should start using modern fictional characters, and the next moon of Uranus they discover should be called 'Little Finger'"

        Dear Sir,

        You may feel that having 'Little Finger' circling the ring of Uranus on the outer rim of the Solar System is appropriate astrolonomy, but as a happily married woman I must vehemently protest.

        Yours Sincerely,

        Mrs Trellis, North Wales

        1. DagD

          Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

          someone sounds uptight.

          =P

      2. Chika
        Devil

        Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

        Quite so, and this "door" they speak of should be named Sphyncta.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

          And not only the naming of the door but "Uranus’ magnetic field swings open and shut like the aperture of a revolving door." sounds a bit off to me. A revolving door never has an open aperture. Maybe the author meant a sliding door, or even a bog standard door hanging on hinges?

          1. Fatman Silver badge

            Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

            <quote>but "Uranus’ magnetic field swings open and shut like the aperture of a revolving door."</quote>

            I vaguely remember that being a plot device in an old Star Trek episode, now, if I can only remember its title. I remember that Lee Meriwether starred in it.

            Found it:

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708450/

          2. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

            "A revolving door never has an open aperture."

            You're essentially right of course, but not all revolving doors are created equal - while elite establishments like banks and expensive hotels seem to favour the classic four-wing model that indeed never really opens or closes, places like supermarkets with high-volume traffic tend to favour the large-volume, two-winged variant (like this one) that does indeed "open and close" as it turns. Maybe the author had one of those in mind...?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus.

              "supermarkets with high-volume traffic tend to favour the large-volume, two-winged variant (like this one) that does indeed "open and close" as it turns. Maybe the author had one of those in mind...?"

              FWIW, that one in the video never opens either, at least not all the way through. It's like almost every revolving door ever, ie it works like an airlock.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      It's worse than that. We're using a giant telescope to ogle our near neighbour's uranus flashing...

    3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Joke

      Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus

      better Uranus than mine...

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        Re: It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus

        This wasn't a personal act upon Uranus in particular

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sir Alastair Burnet said it best

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHp9Cakv2Fg

    5. Chemical Bob

      "It's always fascinating when they probe Uranus."

      Don't you mean 'f*ass*inating

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    "majority of exoplanets that have been discovered appear to also be ice giants in size."

    Perhaps because it's easier to spot a big (tiny) dot moving in front of its parent star than a tiny (tiny) dot moving in front of its parent star?

    Some where on a planet far far away.

    "What? We made spin with an axis close to the solar systems ecliptic, with a magnetic field 50 deg off that and the Humans still didn't think it was worth inspecting more closely?"

  4. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Dancing light patterns around Uranus...

    Sounds like a gay disco-planet....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So do these particles end up giving Uranus piles ?

  6. frank ly Silver badge

    Uranus

    This one will run and run.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. ratfox Silver badge
    Coat

    Uranus is a giant

    and contains a lot of gas

  9. Chris G Silver badge

    So

    This research is about periodic energetic particular insertion into Uranus?

  10. imanidiot Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Congrats

    Congrats to whoever wrote that title. You outdid yourself this time

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    Who do these scientists think they are to say Uranus is on its side? Does it have a this way up label? No? Thought not. Perhaps it's just resting then.

    Or it's only there because someone missed a pot in a game of intergalactic bar billiards.

    1. DagD

      I'm just glad they didn't start another uproar by announcing we are down to 7 planets in our solar system.

      Sorry Uranus, there's no room for you.

    2. Arctic fox
      Happy

      Re: "Perhaps it's just resting then."

      Uranus is pining for the fjords?

  12. Robert D Bank

    I wonder if there's a brown out when it opens?

    1. Axman

      I wonder if there's a brown out when it opens?

      ... don't be faecesious

  13. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Weird planet.

    It's not just lying on its side and with wildly different magnetic and rotational poles, but Uranus's magnetic field isn't even generated in its core. It's centred about 1/3 of the way out from the centre towards the north pole which suggests something electrically conductive is swirling away deep in Uranus.

    Which leads to the second problem - Uranus is unbelievably cold and appears to have no internal source of heat, unlike the very similar Neptune which is seething away furiously.

    We badly need to send another mission out there to take another look.

    1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

      Re: Weird planet.

      "Uranus is unbelievably cold and appears to have no internal source of heat"

      immense pressure from gravity creates heat

    2. cray74 Silver badge

      Re: Weird planet.

      We badly need to send another mission out there to take another look.

      Yep, no doubt with an endless series of puns about probing the methane clouds of Uranus temporarily crippling the internet.

      More seriously, one of the possible end missions for Cassini was to send it to Uranus. With a Titanian gravity assist, it'd putter its way there in about 20 years. But that was expensive (the team would have to be maintained for 20 more years), the probe would lack propellant for any significant maneuvers, and science return would be limited.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I HATES it!

    "very unique ".

    Aaagh!!

    I know, I know, it's my problem. Sorry.

    1. Axman

      Re: I HATES it!

      "Toad Hall," said the Toad proudly, "is an eligible self- contained gentleman's residence, very unique; dating in part from the fourteenth century, but replete with every modern convenience. Up-to-date sanitation. Five minutes from church, post-office, and golf-links, Suitable for..."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I HATES it!

        Thanks Axman, now I hate Kenneth Grahame too.

        How did that help? ;-)

        1. Axman

          How did that help?

          errr, hmmm...

          *thinks*

          ...errrrrrrrr

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: I HATES it! - How did that help?

          By suggesting that someone who misuses "unique" is possibly not very bright and puffed up with self importance?

          Elsewhere in the book Toad uses "knowed" to as to rhyme with Toad. I don't think Grahame was recommending this as received usage.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Is it perhaps on its side

    because it's pining for the fjords? It is a lovely blue, after all

    Sorry, couldn't resist

  16. Chris Evans

    98 degrees tilt? I'm confused!

    A tilt of axis up to 90 degrees I can understand but how can you have more than 90 degrees?

    98 degrees would be 82 degrees the other way surely?

    Which way is up?

    n.b. I keep my globe with the south pole at the top to demonstrate to my grandchildren that there isn't a right way up, only a relative positioning.

    1. David Knapman

      Re: 98 degrees tilt? I'm confused!

      Think in terms of rotation. If a planet is orbiting a star clockwise (from some viewpoint) and the planet is also rotating clockwise (from same viewpoint), there is zero axial tilt.

      If, from the same perspective, the planet is orbiting the star clockwise, but is rotating anti-clockwise, the axial tilt may be described as 180 degrees.

      1. Chris Evans

        Re: 98 degrees tilt? I'm confused!

        I follow what you say but think it might probably be more understandable to call it 82 degrees tilt with reverse spin.

    2. MT Field

      Re: 98 degrees tilt? I'm confused!

      My memory tells me it should be "almost 89 degrees" but I could be wrong (and can't be bothered to look it up).

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019