Voyager 2 data may be hiding two new Uranian moons

Two ring moons may be hiding in plain sight around Uranus.
By | Published: October 17, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

Some of the smallest moons in the solar system hide in the rings of the giant planets. But when it comes to a system of rings as dirty and dark as Uranus, it can be harder to find these moonlets than it is at Saturn. The rings of the ice giant are tainted with lots of dust, meaning they can only be seen in certain spectra. Add on that we haven’t visited the seventh planet since 1986, and we find it may be pretty easy to miss.

But researchers taking a second look at Voyager 2 data couldn’t help but notice something in the Uranian rings. Distortion patterns in the ring images seem to point to two previously unnoticed moons. The moonlets are located between the Alpha and Beta rings, and are fairly small — less than 10 miles across. (If they exist, of course.) You can read more about the discoveries here.

The moons may be too small to spot with Hubble or other space based telescopes, so the moons may not be confirmed until NASA officially launches a probe to Uranus to seek out more answers to the bizarre ice giant and its exquisite moons.

Source: Gizmodo