We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Astronomy

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What are the Moons of Uranus?

Michael Anissimov
By
Updated: May 21, 2024

Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, has 27 recognized moons, less than half the number orbiting either Jupiter or Saturn. Five are massive enough to have a spherical shape: Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. All of Uranus' moons are named after characters from the works of Shakespeare or Alexander Pope. The smaller moons are named Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Cupid, Puck, Mab, and many others. A certain section around Uranus, between its main rings and the orbit of the moon Miranda, is very crowded, with numerous small moons locked in unstable orbits. Eventually these moons may collide with each other.

The moons of Uranus were only observed up close by the Voyager 2 space probe in 1986. Otherwise, numerous Uranian moons have been discovered by ground telescopes, but they mostly appear as fuzzy dots. Uranus' largest two satellites, Titania and Oberon, were discovered by the same astronomer who discovered Uranus itself, the British William Herschel, in 1787. Ariel and Umbriel were then discovered by William Lassell in 1851, and these first four moons were named in 1852 by Herschel's son John.

Uranus has an interesting range of moons, though not as rich or varied as those of Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus' moon Miranda, with a diameter of 480 km, has among the most jumbled surfaces in the Solar System, including the tallest cliff, Verona Rupes, with a height of 20 km (12 mi). The remaining four large moons have similar diameters, ranging between 1100 km (684 mi) and 1600 km (1000 mi). Most of these moons are made of about 50% water ice, 30% silicate rock, and 20% methane ices. It is all the methane in Uranus' atmosphere that gives it and its companion planet Neptune their blue colors.

Many of Uranus' moons have similar geological features: canyons, cliffs (rupes or escarpments), chasms (chasmata), and the ever-present craters. In the Uranian system, these are all names after places or characters from the works of Pope or Shakespeare, with an emphasis on Shakespeare. Examples are the Lear crater and Hamlet crater on Oberon.

Titania, the first moon to be discovered, possesses a large canyon, among the largest in the Solar System, much larger than the 1.6 km (1 mile) deep Grand Canyon on Earth, and in the same class as Valles Marineris on Mars, which is up to 7 km (4.3 mi) deep. At 1577 km (980 mi) in diameter, Titania is the eighth-largest moon in the Solar System.

Oberon, the second-largest moon orbiting Uranus, has a very old cratered surface, mostly gray but with some large white splotches across it. Unlike most of the other Uranian moons, Oberon has tall mountains, including one about 6 km (3.7 mi) in height. The floors of craters on Oberon are covered with a dark material of unknown origin.

Ariel is Uranus' brightest moon, and is covered with craters which are slightly younger than those on the other large moons. In 2006, Ariel transited Uranus, leaving a shadow on the cloud tops. This event was observed using the Hubble Space Telescope.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
Share
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.