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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 2 Orbiting Uranus

Running Time: 3 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, Uranus's tiniest known satellite, is temporarily designated as S/2003 U 2 until the International Astronomical Union formally certifies its discovery. S/2003 U 2 is 8 miles (12 km) wide and orbits 46,400 miles (74,800 km) away from Uranus, circling the planet in 14 hours and 50 minutes.

In this movie, the bright object below S/2003 U 2 is Belinda, whose orbital path is just 200 to 450 miles (300 to 700 km) from the new moon. The object above the new moon is another satellite, designated S/1986 U 10, seen here for the first time since the Voyager spacecraft snapped a picture of it in 1986.

The white concentric lines at left 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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