Why Is Uranus Shooting Plasma Bubbles


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Why Is Uranus Shooting Plasma Bubbles

Why Is Uranus Shooting Plasma Bubbles

Get this: The atmosphere of Uranus is leaking gas into space. Scientists discovered the presence of a plasmoid while looking through Voyager 2 data. But what is a plasmoid and what does this development mean for the 7th planet from the Sun?

While leaky atmospheres are actually not that uncommon, this discovery is the first time a plasmoid has been detected in connection with Uranus. The data comes from the historic Voyager 2 trip to the icy planet in 1986, though scientists just realized the presence of the plasmoid, a pocket of atmospheric material emitting from Uranus by the planet’s magnetic field, more than 2 decades later.

The data from the mission shows that Uranus ejected a mass of electrically excited gas roughly 30 times wider than Earth’s diameter.

But the discovery reveals more than just the fact that Uranus’ atmosphere is leaking—it also helps scientists better understand the planet’s mysterious twisted magnetic field.

Find out more about Uranus’ leaky atmosphere and what it means for the planet’s future in this Elements.


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