07 November 2006

A Lunartic look at Uranus

Uranus’ moons are kind of unusual. They rotate (with the planet itself) about 90 degrees out of phase from the rest of the Solar System.

The usual nebular hypotheses for planet & moon formation come up dry when faced with this little factlet.

Saturn and a few other planets do this kind of thing, too — to a lesser extent — and also provide “little” puzzles for nebular theorists.

Neptune’s moons are just nuts — one (Triton) runs backwards and is in a decaying orbit; another (Nereid) is orbiting so loosely that it constantly risks escape.

These guys want new planetary formation theories, based around the widely-observed plasma effects. I’d be interested in seeing how it turns out.

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