ad info

 
CNN.com
  spacecorner
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
SPACE
TOP STORIES

Mir cargo vessel abandoned

John Zarrella: Lessons learned from Challenger

Last rendezvous for Mir

Beginning of the end for Mir

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

Bush signs order opening 'faith-based' charity office for business

Rescues continue 4 days after devastating India earthquake

DaimlerChrysler employees join rapidly swelling ranks of laid-off U.S. workers

Disney's GO.com is a goner

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image

Astronomers locate lost pair of Uranus moons

Uranus  

In this story:

Moons' diameters only 25 miles

Hubble, ripples aid in search

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



March 8, 2000
Web posted at: 4:37 p.m. EST (2137 GMT)

TUCSON, Arizona -- Fourteen years after disappearing from astronomical observations, two moons of Uranus have been rediscovered.

Voyager II first observed Ophelia and Cordelia more than a decade ago, but they quickly faded from view after the spacecraft left the Uranus system -- until this month, when scientists sifting through Hubble images spotted the tiny satellites.

The new sighting strengthens Uranus' claim as the moon king of the solar system. The seventh planet from the sun has 20 known natural satellites, more than any other planet.

Moons' diameters only 25 miles

Scientists looking at Voyager 2 images discovered the moons in 1986. Voyager 2 observed the satellites for two weeks and then left Uranus for the Neptune system.

But scientists soon lost sight of the moon pair, having insufficient data to predict their orbits and inadequate instruments to observe them.

They remained lost until this year. Astronomers from three academic institutions announced last week that they found the moons.

For years, telescopes on Earth were unable to spot the tiny, distant satellites. Each moon has a diameter of about 25 miles (40 km) and is more than 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion km) away.

Hubble, ripples aid in search

But Hubble images have become significantly more detailed in recent years. And a few weeks ago Erich Karkoschka, a researcher at the University of Arizona, spotted Ophelia while conducting a computer-enhanced search of 1997 Hubble data.

Meanwhile, astronomers at Wellesley College and Cornell University had found promising signs of the two moons by checking ripple patterns, likely caused by the moons' gravity, on the edge of Uranus' brightest ring.

"Ever since these narrow rings were found around Uranus, (we) realized that something must be holding them together," Philip Nicholson, a Cornell astronomy professor who participated in the search, said in a statement.

Karkoschka checked for Cordelia based on the work of the Wellesley and Cornell astronomers. He found it right where they predicted it would be.




RELATED STORIES:
Hubble reveals violent supernova shockwave
February 17, 2000
Hubble images unlock Keyhole Nebula mysteries
February 3, 2000
Hubble reopens celestial eye to Eskimo nebula, galactic zoom lens
January 24, 2000
Hubble catches a cosmic 'bubble'
January 18, 2000
Fireworks of star birth light up nearby galaxy
January 11, 2000
Hubble reveals galactic collisions more common than expected
November 22, 1999
Hubble snaps clues about origin of spiral galaxies
October 6, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Hubble SM3A - Home
Astronomy Pictures from the Hubble Heritage Project
NASA Homepage

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.