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Scientists may have solved the mystery of Uranus’ weak radiation belts, linking it to the planet’s unusually tilted and asymmetric magnetic field. Voyager 2’s 1986 data revealed Uranus’ magnetic field is tilted 60° from its spin axis and its radiation belts are 100 times weaker than expected. New simulations suggest the magnetic field causes “traffic jams” for particles, explaining the weak radiation belts. Lead author Matthew Acevski noted Uranus’ magnetic field is unlike any other in the solar system, differing from the traditional dipole fields of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn.

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