Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

March 4, 1996

Uranus' Largest Moon: Titania
Photo Credit: NASA, Voyager 2, Calvin J. Hamilton

Explanation: Titania's tortured terrain is a mix of valleys and craters. NASA's interplanetary robot spacecraft Voyager 2 passed this moon of Uranus in 1986 and took the above photograph. The photograph was then transmitted back to earth by radio. The valleys of Titania resemble those on Ariel indicate that Titania underwent some unknown tumultuous resurfacing event in its distant past. Although Titania is Uranus' largest moon, it is still much smaller than Triton - the largest moon of Uranus' sister planet Neptune. Titania is essentially a large dirty iceball that orbits Uranus - it is composed of about half water-ice and half rock. Titania was discovered by William Hershel in 1787.

Tomorrow's picture: A Black Hole in M87's Centre?

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.