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

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Astronomers have discovered that Uranus’ rings have a glow to them, a feature that’s befuddling to them.

The footage, released by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT), reveals the lack of dust particles in the rings, and with the help of their ability to reflect light, which makes them unlike the rings of other planets, such as Saturn or Jupiter.

“Saturn it is, especially with the icy rings, they are spacious, bright and come in a range of particle sizes from micron-sized dust in the inner part of the ring, and up to tens of meters in size, the most important of the rings,” said uc Berkeley professor Imke de Pater in a statement. “It’s a small end that is missing in the main rings of Uranus; the brightest ring, the epsilon, is composed of a golf-ball sized and bigger rocks.”

Composite picture of the atmosphere of Jupiter, and the rings at radio wavelengths, taken by the ALMA array will be in December 2017. The image shows the thermal emission, or heat, from the rings of Uranus for the first time, allow scientists to determine whether or not the temperature of a cold, 77 K (-320 F). The dark bands in the atmosphere of Jupiter at these wavelengths reveal the presence of molecules that absorb the radio waves, in particular, of hydrogen sulfide a gas. The bright regions (the north polar spot (or yellow spot on the right-hand side, as Uranus is tipped over on it’s side) have very little of these compounds. (Credit: Edward Molter, and in Front of the Priest)


Jupiter, the rings of a micron particulates, and Neptune’s rings are made of dust, but in Uranus’ rings are mostly dust-free, even when dust exists between the main coils.

“We already know that the e-ring is a little bit strange, because we don’t see all the smaller things,” uc Berkeley graduate student, Edward Molter, added in the statement. “He’s sweeping up the smaller stuff, it’s all glomming together. We just don’t know. This is a step in the direction of understanding the composition and some or all of the rings came from the same source material, or have different ring to it.”

In addition to the capturing of the images, and the very large telescope (VLT allows scientists to measure the rings, and the temperatures are a bone-chilling -320 degrees Fahrenheit.

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


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