Scientists bypassed NASA’s massive Chandra Observatory data warehouse between 2002 and 2017 and discovered unusual x-rays that had been ignored. It comes from the most bizarre planet in the solar system: Uranus.
This strange thing was discovered by a team of research teams between NASA and University College London (of the University of London – United Kingdom), the University of Marseille, the Paris Observatory (France) , Harvard – Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (America), Chinese Academy of Sciences…
In the research summary published by NASA, the authors give two possible reasons why a planet emits x-rays. The first is that it scatters x-rays from the sunlight itself, which has been recorded. However, there are factors suggesting that with Uranus this is not entirely plausible. It seems that another source of X-rays is also present in parallel.
The second hypothesis is that Uranus’ belts themselves produce X-rays. This giant, icy planet is surrounded by charged particles such as electrons and protons. These particles, colliding with rings, can produce x-rays.
The above two types of X-ray emission can exist in parallel with the X-rays emitted by the auroras of the planet, just as X-rays are produced in the auroras of the Earth. Similar auroras have been recorded on Jupiter, according to Space.
Detecting x-rays from a nearby object – also in the solar system, will be an important basis for scientists to decode x-rays from objects farther away, beyond the solar system. Or even galaxies, like black holes and neutron stars.