Scientists used data from more than 30 years ago to learn more about Uranus’ magnetic field.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology reported that the planet’s magnetosphere turns on and off like a light switch every day. They used the data from the Voyager 2 spacecraft flyby in 1986.
The planet is in what could be defined as an “on” state, allowing solar wind to flow into it. The planet tightens up and deflects solar wind in its “off” position. The scientists claim that the process occurs on a daily basis. In contrast, the Earth’s magnetosphere typically only changes from open to closed in response to changes in the solar wind.
Associate professor from Georgia Tech, Carol Paty, who was part of the study, said:
“Uranus is a geometric nightmare. The magnetic field tumbles very fast, like a child CARTWHEELING down a hill head over heels. When the magnetized solar wind meets this tumbling field in the right way, it can reconnect and Uranus’s’ magnetosphere goes from open to closed to open on a daily basis.”
You can learn more about this here.