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Space & Astronomy

Twin of Uranus found in distant solar system

October 19, 2014 | Comment icon 12 comments

Uranus is one of two ice giants in our solar system. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have identified the first ever ice giant planet beyond our own solar system.
The distant and enigmatic worlds of Uranus and Neptune, unlike the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, are comprised of a combination of both ice and gas, something that has so far made them unique among all the other planets discovered to date.

This may soon be set to change however as scientists in Ohio believe that they have identified the first ever extrasolar ice giant planet at a distance of over 25,000 light years away.
The discovery should provide astronomers with the opportunity to better understand how ice giant planets are formed and how Uranus and Neptune might have ended up in the outer solar system.

"Nobody knows for sure why Uranus and Neptune are located on the outskirts of our solar system, when our models suggest that they should have formed closer to the sun," said Prof Andrew Gould.

"One idea is that they did form much closer, but were jostled around by Jupiter and Saturn and knocked farther out."

Source: UPI.com | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
To be a twin of Uranus it would have to be tilted on its axis close to ninety degrees. I doubt they are able to determine such a thing, so calling it a twin sounds to me to be journalistic hype. I suppose it has to do with mass and chemistry. There must be gazillions of such objects, so what is so newsworthy here? (Not rhetorical -- I'm curious).
Comment icon #4 Posted by bison 7 years ago
This is the first time they've been able to detect a planet of this type, presumably made of both gas and ices. It seems to lie at a distance from its star roughly comparable to to that of Uranus. Such planets may be common, but are apparently very difficult to observe, given the present limitations of our technology. It was reportedly only found because of the way the companion star in this binary system magnified the image of the planet (microlensing). The discovery of such planets may help us to understand how Uranus and Neptune evolved in our own system. The article refers in passing to Ju... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by theotherguy 7 years ago
Huh. I propose the name Jotunheim.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ancient astronaut 7 years ago
They (Scientists) are calling it "Ouranus", but they probably will never find "Myanus".
Comment icon #7 Posted by bison 7 years ago
Since we call all of the other major planets by their Roman names, perhaps we should do the same with Uranus. This name isn't widely known, but it is: Caelus, god of the sky, the Roman equivalent of the Greek Uranus.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sundew 7 years ago
I remember an episode of Futurama where Fry made some crack about the name of Uranus: Professor Farnsworth, "Oh it not called Uranus anymore, that name was changed hundreds of years ago, because of people like you making fun of the name." Fry, "Oh, what do they call it now?" Professor, "Urectum."
Comment icon #9 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
Much as I think jokes about Uranus to be juvenile, the Urectum one is good.
Comment icon #10 Posted by jarjarbinks 7 years ago
How would we called people from Uranus if we find people there or living there in the future ? Poo ?
Comment icon #11 Posted by wadoor 7 years ago
Probably would of been better to have a picture of Ura nus instead of Neptune
Comment icon #12 Posted by Karasu 7 years ago
The title of the article made me giggle.

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