Uranus has 5 moons and Miranda is the innermost moon and probably the weirdest looking of all moons.
|Discovered By:||Gerard P. Kuiper February 16, 1948|
|Mass:||6.59 × 10^19 (0.09% Moon)|
|Orbit Distance:||129,900 km|
|Orbit Period:||1.4 days|
|Surface Temperature:||-213 °C|
People have compared Miranda to “Frankenstein’s monster,” as it is a strange bunch of parts that don’t look like they belong together and were never properly merged.
Scientist have long wondered what caused Miranda to look like it does and now some think they have an explanation.
Uranus’ gravitational pull on Miranda has caused constant stretching and squeezing on the inside of Miranda that heats up, churns, and causes the deformations.
Miranda is a small moon, only 293 mi/471 km wide, which is around 1/7 the side of our moon.
Miranda has giant canyons that are twelve times deeper than those found in the Grand Canyon and yet it is a ball of rock and ice. Of course, some scientists look at Miranda and call it an exotic and beautiful moon. One has to guess that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
As researchers continue to study Miranda they make note of the 3 giant coronae features that are considered to be unique.
Crudely shaped, they are either trapezoids or ovals, and each one4 is around 120 mi/200 km wide.
The landscape of Miranda has belts that are concentrations of toughs and ridges in between each of the coronae.
These not only separate them from the heavily cratered areas, it makes the coronae look like they are out of place. The three coronae were named after places in some of Shakespeare’s plays: Elsinore, Arden, and Inverness.
Since the coronae are so bizarre and unique, scientists have tried to develop theories on how they formed.
One idea is that before Miranda was completely developed there was an impact that caused catastrophic upheaval and then the pieces tried to reassemble.
As the parts were loosely held together the coronae became a rocky material, sinking to cause contracting wrinkles on the surface.
Still another idea that most scientists seem to lean to is that the coronae formed as buoyant domes of ice began to rise on Miranda’s surface it caused crumpling. The question remains where the heat came from to cause the domes to rise.
Miranda is so small that any heat would have cooled quickly and it doesn’t have any form of activity that could keep heat on the inside.
There are some scientists that are indicating that the gravitational pull of Uranus on Miranda might have been enough to cause original heating and churning to create the coronae.
It’s already known that the gravity generates tidal forces on Miranda in the same way that our moon does to our Earth.
These forces can cause a bulge that travels as the body orbits.