Several decades ago, the Voyager 2 spacecraft explored Uranus, revealing valuable data about the cold gas giant. After 34 years since the achievement took place, a team of researchers has made a discovery based on data that was collected by the probe.
The researchers discovered that the probe ran into a cloud of charged gas, which is known as a plasmoid during the survey of the planet. While the exposure to the plasmoid was quite short, lasting for less than a minute, it was noticeable enough to be spotted by scientists.
At first sight, the origin of the gas blob was quite elusive, but the researchers managed to track it down. The blob featured a specific form of the internal magnetic field, which tends to be present in the case of planets which release parts of their atmosphere into space.
Uranus is leaking gas into space, losing its atmosphere
It is thought that Uranus lost up to 55% of its atmosphere because it is leaking gas into space. Similar plasmoids have been observed across the solar system, including in the case of other planets, among which we can count Saturn and Jupiter. However, Uranus has leaked a considerably higher amount of gas in comparison to the other planets.
Uranus is one of the most interesting planets in the solar system, as sport a series of fascinating traits. One of the weirdest ones is represented by the fact that the planet rotates on its side. It also has a distinctive wobble that continues to puzzle researchers.
Some scientists that a significant object impacted Uranus a long time ago, causing many of the distinctive features that can be perceived today. The presence of a helical bundle of planetary plasma is quite essential since it proves that plasmoids can carry a significant amount of plasma even in the case of Ice Giants. More details can be found in an article published in a scientific journal.