A former theory, discarded at the time, seems to be the correct explanation for why Uranus behaves as it does. Uranus is known for not complying with the rules of keeping its poles where they should be kept and for rotating in the opposite direction. Poles should be north and south, or at least close. But no! Uranus has them east and west. Every planet in the Solar System rotates anticlockwise, Uranus does it clockwise. A pure rebel without a cause!
Well, astronomers at the University of Maryland say there might be a probable cause, after all. So far, presumptions were that Uranus got hit, and that left it with the sequels. But there isn’t much sense into these presumptions. If it was to be so, then there would be no ice on its moons. And maybe not even Uranus would’ve continued as an ice giant.
An impact so significant as to tip a planet on its side would also cause a lot of heat. Enough to melt the ice on these moons, making them mostly rocky. But they are just fine, with equal parts of rock and ice. Also, Uranus has a similar spin period with Neptune. This suggests that the two were born kind of at the same time. A considerable impact would have blown that similarity.
What do scientists think went wrong with Uranus
There is a ring. A ring system, just like Saturn’s. Well, not precisely like Saturn’s, at least not as visible, and when it was visible, it had a different configuration. But surely there was a ring system because that is how giants form: with the help of a ring system.
That is why astronomers Zeeve Rogoszinski and Douglas Hamilton think that precession could have caused the platen to be tilted sideways. A double precession, actually. The precession of Uranus’s axis and the precession of the planet’s orbit. Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. If the axis of rotation of a body is itself rotating about a second axis, that body is said to be precessing about the second axis.
Modeling, however, proves that precession wouldn’t be enough to justify the entire Uranus’ tilt. Over a million years, it could’ve produced only a 70-degree tilt. The rest of it could’ve been caused by an impacting rock. One of about half the mass of Earth. Not sure if the ice from the moon could have agreed with that size, though.