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Ariel, Moon of Uranus

Ariel is a Moon that orbits round the planet Uranus. Its orbit circumference, the total distance it travels round its planetary parent is 1,199,459.64 km. The furthest it gets from its orbital parent (apoasis) is 191,129 km. Its mass is estimated/calculated at being 1,294,849,526,195,970,000,000 kg. Its density has been calculated at being 1.592 g/cm3. Its volume is 812,641,988 km3.

The orbital period, i.e. the period it takes to complete an orbit round Uranus is 2.52 days. The figure is also known as the sidereel period. The figure comes from N.A.S.A..

The Semi-Major Axis of the orbit is 190,900 km, which is the furthest point from the centre to the edge of an elliptical point.

The equatorial circumference of Ariel is 3,637.3 km. The mean radius, that is the average radius of Ariel is 578.9 km. The surface area of Ariel is 4,211,307.59 km2. The surface gravity of the said item is 0.258 m/s2. The average orbit velocity, that is the speed at which it orbits is 19,832.3 km/h.

The orbital inclination, the angle at which Ariel orbits in relation to the orbital plane is 0.041 degrees. The orbital eccentricity is 0.0012, it is the degree at which Ariel orbits close to a circular (0) orbit as opposed to an elliptical (1) orbit.

Ariel is the fourth largest moon that orbits Uranus. It is possible to see the moon from Earth but you do need at least a 12 inch aperture telescope and a very dark sky so good luck in looking for it. Nine Planets

Ariel is believed to be composed of both half-water ice and half rocky material. Although has the same composition as Rhea, it has a slightly larger amount of rock. It has a large number of valleys that you can see from the image below that criss-cross the moons surface. The canyons are believed to have been caused by liquid running over them. The liquid would not have been water but more likely amonia, methane or carbon monoxide. Seasky

The surface of Ariel is believed to be young, not much in the way of asteroid or meteorite impact craters. The larger impact craters are believed to have been wiped out by more recent impact craters. The surface is the brightest of the largest Uranian moons but it is still a dimmly lit moon, returning only a third of the sunlight that is believed to hit the moon. The moon is tidally locked with the planet as it keeps the same face to Uranus like what the Moon does to the Earth. NASA

How Ariel got its Name

Despite where you might have heard the name Ariel before, it is not from Disney nor from Hans Christian Andersen's the Little Mermaid. Ariel is a character in both William Shakespeare play "The Tempest" and a character in Alexander Popes "Rape of the Lock". the moon was named by William Lassell, a British Astronomer who named it.

Whilst most astronomical bodies are named after deitys mainly Ancient Greeks and Romans, Uranus ones are named after William Shakespeare characters. The naming rule came in later after the moons name got accepted. Ariel was a spirit who served the main character Prospero in the play. In Rape of the Lock, Ariel is the leading spirit in the story. Rape in the context of the play is not in the same context as it used to day to mean a criminal offence but one that means to snatch, take.

The name Ariel can be traced back to biblical times and appears in the Old Testament in Isiah 29:1 "Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelled! add you year to year; let them kill sacrifices."

Image of the Uranus moon of Ariel

Image of the Uranus moon of Ariel

Ariel Facts

Orbital Circumference1,199,459.64 km
Furthest from parent (Apoasis)191,129 km
Mass1,294,849,526,195,970,000,000 kg
Density1.592 g/cm3
Volume812,641,988 km3
Date of Discovery24 October 1851
Orbital Period2.52
Semi-Major Axis190,900 km
Equatorial Circumference3,637.3 km
Mean Radius578.9 km
Surface Area4,211,307.59 km2
Surface Gravity0.258 m/s2
Average Orbit Velocity19,832.3 km/h
Orbital Inclination0.041
Orbital Eccentricity0.0012

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