Asked by AP News to describe Uranus, scientist Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution gave a three-word answer. “It’s very strange.” And his description is apt, since Uranus is the only planet in our solar system that is actually spinning around on its side. But what’s the explanation of this weird phenomenon?
Scientists at the University of Durham in the north of England have been searching for an answer to that very question. Before we get to the results of their research, let’s get to know Uranus a little better. Butt of a thousand schoolboy jokes, Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, 30 times farther from that star than our planet. Some 63 Earths could fit inside the space occupied by Uranus. So it’s big.