Miranda (Uranus V) was discovered in 1948 by Gerard Kuiper using a telescope of two meters, at McDonald Observatory. The southern hemisphere of Miranda was photographed by Voyager 2 in January 1986.
Its orbit is prograde (forward) and nearly circular (eccentricity = 0.0013).
Miranda is constituted by a roughly equal mixture of ice and rock. It is the nearest of the moons of Uranus, the semi-major axis of its orbit is 129 900 km.
Uranus is practically lying on the ecliptic plane with an inclination of its axis of rotation of 97.86 °, the orbit of Miranda follows the atypical rotation of the planet.
A catastrophic event is certainly at the origin of this inclination. Uranus' moons were formed from the sub-nebula that gave birth to Uranus.
Miranda has a slope (4.338 ° to the plane of the equator of Uranus), greater than other large moons of Uranus (≈ 0 °). Miranda innermost large moons of Uranus is a strange world that has probably had a tumultuous past.
Closely examined by Voyager 2 in 1986, this dark world and far proved to be quite surprising.
Miranda shows a unique variety of terrain which led some astronomers to believe that it was broken up 5 times during its evolution as shown in the famous "chevron" feature, the brilliant V-shape just above the image center. This composite image of high resolution Miranda shows a series of peaks, valleys and smooth surfaces as well as obscure canyons ≈ 24 km depth as the large crater (center of image).
The center of the picture is the south pole of Uranus.
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Image: Miranda, the moon of Uranus, photographed by Voyager 2, which flew over the south pole in 1986 to 31 000 km of distance, distance sufficient to geological mapping and counting craters on the moon. Miranda is constituted by a roughly equal mixture of ice and rock.
credit: NASA (ref. jpl)
|Miranda||Moon of Uranus|
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|Mean diameter ||≈ 471.6 km|
|Periapsis||129 700 km|
|Apoapsis||130 100 km|
|Argument of periapsis||68.312 °|
|Ascending node||326.438 °|
|Discovered in ||February 16, 1948|
|Discovered by||Gerard Kuiper|
|Semi-major axis||129 900 km|
|Inclination / equator of Uranus||4,232°|
|Mean temperature||≈ 86 K|
|Escape velocity||0.193 km/s|
|Orbital period||1.413479 day|