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Ariel

Ariel moon

Ariel

 

Orbit: 190,930 km from Uranus
Orbital period: 60 hours
Gravity: 0.27 m/s2
Diameter: 1158 km
Mass: 1.27e21 kg

 

Ariel is the fourth-largest of the 27 known moons of Uranus. Ariel orbits and rotates in the equatorial plane of Uranus, which is almost perpendicular to the orbit of Uranus, and so has an extreme seasonal cycle.

Ariel and Titania appear quite similar though  Titania is 35% larger.  All of Uranus’ large moons are a mixture of about       40-50% water ice with the rest rock, a somewhat larger fraction of rock  than Saturn’s large moons such as Rhea.

Ariel is the fourth-largest of the 27 known moons of Uranus

Ariel’s surface is a mixture of cratered terrain and systems of interconnected valleys hundreds of kilometers long (left,  above) and more than 10 km deep.  This is similar to, but much larger and  more extensive than the situation on Titania.  Some of the craters  appear to be half-submerged.  Ariel’s surface is clearly relatively young  (though older than some such as Enceladus); obviously some sort  of resurfacing  processes have been at work.  Some ridges in the middle of the valleys are  interpreted as up wellings of ice.

Ariel may have been hot inside long ago, but it’s cold now. Perhaps the  valleys  are cracks which formed when Ariel froze.

It is actually possible to see Uranus’s 4 largest moons with an amateur  telescope.  But it takes a very dark sky and at least a 12 inch (30 cm)  aperture.

 

 

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