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Planet-Shifting Collision Shaped Uranus’ “Rolling” Rotation

9 Jul 2018, 14:00 UTC
Planet-Shifting Collision Shaped Uranus’ “Rolling” Rotation NASA/ESA

Scientists have always wondered how Uranus got tilted so much that it spins on its side, and now research on the planet’s early formation gives us new insight. Four billion years ago, scientists believe a young proto-planet of rock and ice collided with Uranus, causing its extreme tilt. Instead of rotating like a top spinning nearly upright, as Earth does, the planet “rolls” on its side as it circles the sun.

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