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Home / Science / Uranus' rings have a 'warm' glow and astronomers are not sure why

Uranus' rings have a 'warm' glow and astronomers are not sure why



Astronomers have uncovered that Uranus' rings have a "warm" glow to them, a trait that's befuddling them.

The images, published by the University of California Berkeley and taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA ) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT), show the paint of dust-sized particles in the rings, aiding their ability to reflect light, making them unlike the rings that other planets have, as Saturn or Jupiter.

"Saturn's D ring, to tens of meters in size in the main rings, "said Berkeley professor Imke de Pater in a statement. "The small end is missing in the main rings of Uranus; The brightest ring, epsilon, is composed of golf ball-sized and larger rocks. "

 Composite image of Uranus's atmosphere and rings at radio wavelengths, taken with the ALMA array in December 2017. The image shows thermal emission, or heat, from the rings of Uranus for the first time, to reach their temperature: a frigid 77 Kelvin (-320 F). Uranus's atmosphere at these wavelengths shows the presence of molecules that absorb radio waves, in particular, hydrogen sulfide gas. Bright regions like the north polar spot (yellow spot at right, because Uranus is tipped on its side) (Credit: Edward Molter and Imke de Pater)

Composite image of Uranus's atmosphere and rings at radio wavelengths, taken with the ALMA array in December 2017. The image shows thermal emission, or heat, from the rings of Uranus for the first their temperature: a frigid 77 Kelvin (-320 F). Uranus's atmosphere at these wavelengths shows the presence of molecules that absorb radio waves, in particular, hydrogen sulfide gas. Bright regions like the north polar spot (yellow spot at right, because Uranus is tipped on its side) (Credit: Edward Molter and Imke de Pater)
      

JUPITER'S POLES SHOWN HEATING UP IN INCREDIBLE NASA IMAGE

Jupiter's rings have micron-sized particles and Neptune's rings are made of dust, but Uranus' rings are dust-free, even if there is dust between them

"We already know that the epsilon ring is a bit weird because we do not see the smaller stuff," Berkeley graduate student Edward Molter added in the statement. "Something has been sweeping the smaller stuff out, or it's all glittering together. We just do not know.

In addition to capturing the images, the VLTs let scientists measure the rings' temperature, coming in at a bone-chilling -320 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pre-published research is available on the arXiv website.

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