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News Release 577 of 1051

September 25, 2003 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2003-29

Hubble Uncovers Smallest Moons Yet Seen Around Uranus


Video: Time-Lapse Movie of S/2003 U 1 Oribiting Uranus

Running Time: 8 seconds

This time-lapse movie shows a newly discovered moon orbiting Uranus. The movie was made from a series of 4-minute exposures taken Aug. 25, 2003 with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The exposures were taken 5 minutes apart.

The moon is temporarily designated as S/2003 U 1 until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formally certifies its discovery. S/2003 U 1 is orbiting 60,600 miles (97,700 km) away from the planet. If the satellite is as dark as Uranus's other moons, it is 10 miles (16 km) across, about the size of San Francisco. The Hubble telescope spotted S/2003 U 1 orbiting between the moons Puck, the largest satellite found by Voyager, and Miranda, the innermost of the five largest Uranian satellites. Astronomers previously thought this region was empty space. S/2003 U 1 whirls around the gas giant planet in 22 hours and 9 minutes.

The white concentric lines at right are part of the planet's system of 10 rings. Several other moons can be seen orbiting just outside the rings.

Credit: NASA, M. Showalter (Stanford University/NASA Ames Research Center), J. Lissauer (NASA Ames Research Center)

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