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Uranus Farts!

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Hypophthalmichthys molitrix
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Revisiting decades-old Voyager 2 data, scientists find one more secret about Uranus.
Phys.Org

Eight and a half years into its grand tour of the solar system, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft was ready for another encounter. It was Jan. 24, 1986, and soon it would meet the mysterious seventh planet, icy-cold Uranus.

Unbeknownst to the entire space physics community, 34 years ago Voyager 2 flew through a plasmoid, a giant magnetic bubble that may have been whisking Uranus's atmosphere out to space.



Atmospheric escape is driven by a planet's magnetic field, which can both help and hinder the process. Scientists believe magnetic fields can protect a planet, fending off the atmosphere-stripping blasts of the solar wind. But they can also create opportunities for escape, like the giant globs cut loose from Saturn and Jupiter when magnetic field lines become tangled.


<heh>No, I didn't just fart. That was a plasmoid.
BF