Uranus has 5 moons and Miranda is the innermost moon and probably the weirdest looking of all moons.
Miranda Moon Profile
|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.
Facts about Miranda
- Miranda also has what researchers call an “eccentric orbit.” Miranda moves in an oval-shape orbit, first a bit closer to Uranus and then father away. Scientists have used computer models to try to imitate the orbit and have found that the tidal forces can squeeze and stretch Miranda so much that it might generate heat enough to create a condition for the warm buoyant ice to rise.
- 3D computer models used to examine Miranda are also being used to get an idea of how Earth’s surface may have changed as well as other planets and moons.
- Only Voyager2 spacecraft mission flyby of 1986 took any pictures of Miranda, but they didn’t include the northern hemisphere.
- Scientists think that the other side of Miranda may have at least one more corona.
- Miranda was named after a character in Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest: daughter of Prospero the magician.
- Miranda is Uranus’ 11th moon as well as the planet’s 5th largest moon.
- Miranda is considered to be Uranus’ most geologically active moon.
- What is the description nickname given to Miranda?
- If you have to describe Miranda what would you say?
a strange bunch of parts that don’t look like they belong together and were never properly merged
- What position in Uranus’ orbit does Miranda have?
- What is one of the theories for why Miranda looks like it does?
Uranus’ gravitational pull on Miranda has caused constant stretching and squeezing on the inside of Miranda that heats up, churns, and causes the deformations
- What type of orbit does Miranda have?
- What unusually beautiful feature does Miranda have?
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