Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2002 February 16
Explanation: Miranda is a bizarre world which surely had a tempestuous past. The innermost of the larger Uranian moons, Miranda is almost 300 miles in diameter and was discovered on today's date in 1948 by American planetary astronomer Gerard Kuiper. Examined very closely by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986, this dark and distant world turned out to be quite a surprise. Miranda was found to display a unique, bewildering variety of terrain leading some to suggest that it has been fractured up to 5 times during its evolution. Along with the famous "chevron" feature, the bright V-shaped area just above centre, this composite of the highest resolution images of Miranda shows wild juxtapositions of ridges and valleys, older cratered and younger smooth surfaces, and shadowy canyons perhaps 12 miles deep. The large crater (below centre) is the 15 mile wide crater Alonso.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.