National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Multimedia
Find the Moon
Find the Moon (click to enlarge)
 
 

Find the Moon
Date: 1 Oct 2003

New Satellites of Uranus Discovered in 2003


Discovery images of one of the newly found Uranus satellites S/2003 U3 showing its motion relative to background stars and galaxies.


Scott S. Sheppard and David Jewitt at the University of Hawaii have discovered 2 new outer satellites of Uranus designated S/2001 U2 and S/2003 U3. The discovery images were obtained from the Subaru 8.3m telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii on August 29, 2003. Further observations by the Hawaii team using the Gemini 8.2m telescope allowed Brian Marsden at the Minor Planet Center to link the satellites to independent discovery observations obtained in 2001 by a group lead by Matt Holman and JJ Kavelaars. The 2001 observations were not enough to determine if the objects were satellites of Uranus and no reliable orbits were found. They were than lost until discovery in 2003 by the Hawaii team.


The new Uranus satellite S/2001 U2 was announced by the International Astronomical Union on October 1 ( IAU Circular 8213 ) and S/2003 U3 on October 9 ( IAU Circular 8217 ). The new satellites are about 12 and 11 kilometers in diameter respectively. S/2001 U2 has an orbital period of about 8 years and is in a retrograde orbit. S/2003 U3 has an orbital period of just over 4 years and is the first prograde irregular satellite discovered around Uranus. All the giant planets now have known prograde and retrograde irregular satellites.


Uranus now has 27 known satellites of which 9 have irregular orbits.


See http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~sheppard/satellites/uranus2003.html for more information.

Credit: NASA Planetary Photojournal



Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2008