Uranus is the seventh planet in our solar system. It is also the third largest by radius and the fourth largest by planetary mass. Unlike the earth, Uranus has no known life, and its atmosphere is the coldest among the nine planets. The lowest temperatures in Uranus can reach -224° Celsius. The composition of the atmosphere of Uranus is mainly made up of clouds that contain hydrogen and methane. Uranus has an interior composed of ice and rocks. Past images of Uranus depicted it as featureless owing to its high composition of ice, water, and rocks. One of the notable features is its titled rotation, which places its north and south poles almost at the equator of other planets.
The Moons of Uranus
The planet has 27 moons divided into three categories depending on their sizes and location. The categories include 13 inner moons, nine that are irregular, and five major ones. The major moons are most visible as opposed to the inner moons, which are mainly dark and dim. Titania, the eighth largest moon in the atmosphere, and is the lead largest moon among the five top moons having a radius of 490.2 miles and a diameter of 981 miles. Additionally, it is 20 times smaller than the size of the earth’s moon. The moons are Cordelia, Ophelia, Mab, Puck, Juliet, Bianca, Portia, Cressida, Perdita, Rosalind, Miranda, Caliban, Margaret, Cupid, Ariel, Titania, Oberon, Sycorax, Ferdinand, Desdemona, Francisco, Prospero, Trinculo, Umbriel, Setebos, Belinda, and Stephano. Notably, the names of the moons were derived from the works of Alexander Pope and William Shakespeare.
Irregular moons are farthest from the planet. The behavior of the moons is distinct from each other. While others move in the same direction with the planet, others move in the opposite direction in a retrograde motion. Moreover, some moons have near perfect circular orbits while others demonstrate almost irregular movements. Moons like Francisco, Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban have irregular movements whereas Ferdinand, Setebos, Sycorax, and Prospero have near perfect orbital movements.
The inner moons are smaller than the other moons of the planet. The moons are mainly composed of ice and water and the black matter presumed to be subjects of radiation, which contaminate them. While others are much closer to the planet, others are slightly far, but their orbits do not go beyond that of Miranda. The frequent perturbation evidenced by the moons leads to collision and fragmentation hence making the inner moons smaller in size. Scientists believe that in the next 100 million years, Desdemona may collide with Juliet or Cressida. Notably, Puck is the largest of the inner moons and lies 162 km from Uranus.
The major moons comprise Titania, Umbriel, Miranda, Oberon, and Ariel. These moons have varying levels of brightness with the brightest being Ariel and the darkest being Umbriel. Their composition is another factor that distinguishes the moons. While many of the major moons have rocks and ice in their composition, Miranda has only ice. Titania orbits Uranus from a distance of 271,000 miles and is the second farthest from Uranus among the five major moons and it is the seventeenth moon overall from Uranus.