Almost all of the 27 moons around Uranus weren’t discovered until we entered space exploration to get closer to the planet.
|Discovered By:||William Herschel January 11, 1787|
|Mass:||3.42 × 10^21 kg (4.7% Moon)|
|Orbit Distance:||436,300 km|
|Orbit Length:||8.7 days|
|Surface Temperature:||-203 °C|
Titania is the largest of these moons at 981 mi/1,579 km in diameter. Each of the moons of Uranus were named after characters of plays by William Shakespeare.
Famous astronomer, William Herschel, discovered the first two moons of Uranus in 1787.
The moons, Titania and Oberon were discovered only six years after they discovered Uranus.
Pictures taken of Titania show that it has surface fault lines which indicate seismic activity. Prior to the 1977 Voyager 2 space mission, astronomers were only aware of five moons around Uranus.
When the probe did a flyby again in 1986 it discovered ten additional moons.
This was quite an astounding situation because this flyby was done during the winter time when an entire section of all of the moons were dark.
Voyager 2 couldn’t examine one moon at a time, but instead had to take on the entire system around Uranus at once.
The results of this flyby is that Voyager 2 was only able to skim by Uranus and its moons and most of the images of the moons appear as far off distant dots.
But even if they weren’t detailed, it should be important to remember that if Voyager 2 hadn’t flown by, we would never know about all of the other moons.
Since the last Voyager 2 flyby, there haven’t been any new missions to Uranus.
The information found during the mission combined with new techniques and technologies have allowed scientists to create a theory that Uranus’ moons may have been created from debris after a collusion knocked Uranus on its side.
This explains both the odd axis tilt and the satellites. Each of the moons of Uranus seem to be different, although many are similar in composition.
Using current telescope technology, we may have gotten a bit more detail on the moons of Uranus but given its distance, without an additional space mission, we are limited on our observations.
There have been current discussions to send spacecraft to the Uranus area including using the newer cubesats for cost reduction.
In both 2010 and 2015, a team submitted a recommendation to the European Space Agency known as Uranus Pathfinder orbiter mission concept.
Neither of the submissions were approved for funding.
Scientists are excited about the Cassini spacecraft observations that hinted that the moons of Saturn may have oceans below the surface, and have suggested that the same situation might exist with the moons of Uranus.
The subsurface liquid water is one of the signs for potential life.