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Uranus
Missions to Uranus
Uranus Sign/Name
Uranus Short Facts
Uranus Pictures
Uranus Moons
   -  Cordelia
   -  Ophelia
   -  Bianca
   -  Cressida
   -  Desdemona
   -  Juliet
   -  Portia
   -  Rosalind
   -  Belinda
   -  Puck
   -  Miranda
   -  Ariel
   -  Umbriel
   -  Titania
   -  Oberon
   -  Caliban
Uranus Summary

Uranus

Uranus Moon: Ariel!

Voyager 2 image of Ariel taken in 1986.


Discovered in 1851 by William Lassell, Ariel is the fourth-largest and brightest moon of Uranus.

Ariel is 191,240 kilometers from Uranus and has an equatorial radius of 578.9 kilometers. The surface bears many heavy impact craters from millions of years of meteorite impact.

Long rift valleys stretch across Ariel's entire, heavily-cratered surface, the floors of which appear as if they have been smoothed by a fluid. Flows of liquid ammonia, methane, or even carbon monoxide may have been responsible.

Voyager 2 color picture of the Uranian moon Ariel taken on Jan. 24, 1986.


The complex terrain of Ariel is viewed in this image, the best Voyager 2 color picture of the Uranian moon. The individual photos used to construct this composite were taken Jan. 24, 1986, from a distance of 170,000 kilometers. Voyager captured this view of Ariel's southern hemisphere through the green, blue and violet filters of the narrow-angle camera; the resolution is about 3 km. Most of the visible surface consists of relatively intensely cratered terrain transected by fault scarps and fault-bounded valleys (graben). Some of the largest valleys, which can be seen near the terminator (at right), are partly filled with younger deposits that are less heavily cratered. Bright spots near the limb and toward the left are chiefly the rims of small craters. Most of the brightly rimmed craters are too small to be resolved here, although one about 30 km in diameter can be easily distinguished near the center. These bright-rim craters, though the youngest features on Ariel, probably have formed over a long span of geological time. Although Ariel has a diameter of only about 1,200 km, it has clearly experienced a great deal of geological activity in the past.


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