The rotation of Uranus is examined for clues as to the origin of the Solar System. Both theories based on the formation of planets through the accretion of small planetesimals, and theories based on the formation of giant gaseous protoplanets through a gravitational instability in the primitive solar nebula allow for qualitative explanations of the large tilt of Uranus's equator to the orbital plane, and the fact that its satellites lie in the equatorial plane. Models of the planetary interior show that the mass ratio of ice-forming materials to rock in Uranus's interior must be more than about three if the rotation period is about 16 h. Such a large ratio seems to exclude those accretional theories that require most of the nebular gas to be heated to relatively high temperatures before being accreted into the planet.
|Number of pages
|Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
|Published - 1984