It was a big year for Uranus. We've learned a lot about the planet, thanks to new research efforts to explain why it's dramatically different from the other planets in our system.
Already in July we learned that the bizarre rotation of the planet is turning An angle of almost 90 degrees to the other worlds of our solar system was probably caused by incredible effects long ago. Now a new UK study supports collision theory and provides a video of what such a crash might look like.
Anyone who has completed physics lessons in high school knows that it would play an important role in an object the size of a Uranus. Researcher Jacob Kegerreis of Durham University in northeastern England estimates that the object that hit the planet should have been at least twice the size of the Earth.
The collision probably occurred very early even before the development of Uranus. The planet's moons had taken shape. This might explain why the moons of the oblique planets also rotate at an angle, unlike the other planets in our system.
What is particularly interesting about this new work is the schedule over which the collision was drawn. Such a crash would have been catastrophic for Uranus, and when Kegerreis and his computer models are true, a dramatic crash occurred within hours.
In addition, the simulations leave open the possibility that everything Uranus hit was out of order. They are completely destroyed. Scientists still believe that the planet-sized impactor has survived the torments, and some even believe that the object could be the unseen "Planet Nine" believed to be on the edges of our solar system lurking.