Diameters and albedos of satellites of Uranus

Abstract

The five known satellites of Uranus are too small and distant to permit direct measurement of their diameters. Consequently, products of the masses of the satellites, and estimates of their bulk densities and surface albedos have been used in discussions of their probable dimensions in the absence of measurements. The presence of water ice on the surfaces of Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon has been established spectrophotometrically1–4 and the brightnesses of the satellites have been measured photoelectrically5. Determination of the masses of the uranian satellites depends on observations of perturbations of the satellite orbits and results chiefly in upper limits to the products of the masses of various pairs of satellites6,7. The new diameter measurements reported here were made using the photometric/radiometric technique of diameter determination. This widely used technique has enabled the measurement of the diameters and albedos of approximately 250 asteroids and many planetary satellites. A recent recalibration of the technique using independent measurements of the diameters of three Solar System objects results in absolute accuracies of better than 5%. Our new albedo measurements show that Umbriel, Titania and Oberon are similar in albedo to J4 Callisto while Ariel is very similar in albedo to S7 Hyperion; the diameters of all four satellites are similar to those of the large, icy saturnian satellites S5 Rhea and S8 Iapetus.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Cruikshank, D. P. Icarus 41, 246–248 (1980).

  2. 2

    Cruikshank, D. P. & Brown, R. H. Icarus 45, 607–411 (1981).

  3. 3

    Brown, R. H. & Cruikshank, D. P. Icarus (submitted).

  4. 4

    Soiffer, B. T., Neugebauer, G. & Matthews, K. Icarus 45, 612–617 (1981).

  5. 5

    Cruikshank, D. P. in Uranus and the Outer Planets (ed. Hunt, G. E.) 193–210 (Cambridge University Press, 1982).

  6. 6

    Greenberg, R. Icarus 24, 325–332 (1975).

  7. 7

    Greenberg, R. Icarus 29, 427–433 (1976).

  8. 8

    Morrison, D., Cruikshank, D. P. & Brown, R. H. Nature 300, 425–427 (1982).

  9. 9

    Simon, T., Morrison, D. & Cruikshank, D. P. Astrophys. J. 177, L17–L20 (1972).

  10. 10

    Smith, B. A. et al. Science 515, 504–536 (1982).

  11. 11

    Hanel, R. et al. Science 215, 544–547 (1982).

  12. 12

    Cruikshank, D. P. & Thompson, A. B. Commun. Lunar Planet. Laboratory 8, 397–398 (1970).

  13. 13

    Morrison, D. Icarus 19, 1–14 (1973).

  14. 14

    Brown, R. H. & Goguen, J. (in preparation) (1982).

  15. 15

    Brown, R. H., Morrison, D., Telesco, C. M. & Brunk, W. E. Icarus (in the press).

  16. 16

    Jones, T. J. & Morrison, D. Astr. J. 79, 892–895 (1974).

  17. 17

    Morrison, D. & Lebofsky, L. A. in Asteroids (ed. Gehrels, T.) 184–205 (University of Arizona Press, 1979).

  18. 18

    Squyres, S. W. & Veverka, J. Icarus 46, 137–155 (1981).

  19. 19

    Bowell, E. & Lumme, K. in Asteroids (ed. Gehrels, T.) 119–167 (University of Arizona Press, 1979).

  20. 20

    Hartmann, W. K., Cruikshank, D. P. & Degewij, J. Icarus (in the press).

  21. 21

    Cruikshank, D. P. & Brown, R. H. Icarus 50, 82–87 (1982).

  22. 22

    Clark, R. N. Icarus 44, 388–409 (1980).

  23. 23

    Veillet, C. & Rattier, G. Colloq. IAU No. 60 (1981).

  24. 24

    Tyler, G. L. et al. Science 215, 553–557 (1982).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brown, R., Cruikshank, D. & Morrison, D. Diameters and albedos of satellites of Uranus. Nature 300, 423–425 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1038/300423a0

Download citation

Further reading

  • The Size and Shape of the Oblong Dwarf Planet Haumea

    • Alexandra C. Lockwood
    • , Michael E. Brown
    •  & John Stansberry

    Earth, Moon, and Planets (2014)

  • THE SIZE, DENSITY, AND FORMATION OF THE ORCUS-VANTH SYSTEM IN THE KUIPER BELT

    • M. E. Brown
    • , D. Ragozzine
    • , J. Stansberry
    •  & W. C. Fraser

    The Astronomical Journal (2010)

  • Titania's radius and an upper limit on its atmosphere from the September 8, 2001 stellar occultation

    • T. Widemann
    • , B. Sicardy
    • , R. Dusser
    • , C. Martinez
    • , W. Beisker
    • , E. Bredner
    • , D. Dunham
    • , P. Maley
    • , E. Lellouch
    • , J.-E. Arlot
    • , J. Berthier
    • , F. Colas
    • , W.B. Hubbard
    • , R. Hill
    • , J. Lecacheux
    • , J.-F. Lecampion
    • , S. Pau
    • , M. Rapaport
    • , F. Roques
    • , W. Thuillot
    • , C.R. Hills
    • , A.J. Elliott
    • , R. Miles
    • , T. Platt
    • , C. Cremaschini
    • , P. Dubreuil
    • , C. Cavadore
    • , C. Demeautis
    • , P. Henriquet
    • , O. Labrevoir
    • , G. Rau
    • , J.-F. Coliac
    • , J. Piraux
    • , Ch. Marlot
    • , C. Marlot
    • , F. Gorry
    • , C. Sire
    • , B. Bayle
    • , E. Simian
    • , A.M. Blommers
    • , J. Fulgence
    • , C. Leyrat
    • , C. Sauzeaud
    • , B. Stephanus
    • , T. Rafaelli
    • , C. Buil
    • , R. Delmas
    • , V. Desnoux
    • , C. Jasinski
    • , A. Klotz
    • , D. Marchais
    • , M. Rieugnié
    • , G. Bouderand
    • , J.-P. Cazard
    • , C. Lambin
    • , P.-O. Pujat
    • , F. Schwartz
    • , P. Burlot
    • , P. Langlais
    • , S. Rivaud
    • , E. Brochard
    • , Ph. Dupouy
    • , M. Lavayssière
    • , O. Chaptal
    • , K. Daiffallah
    • , C. Clarasso-Llauger
    • , J. Aloy Doménech
    • , M. Gabaldá-Sánchez
    • , X. Otazu-Porter
    • , D. Fernández
    • , E. Masana
    • , A. Ardanuy
    • , R. Casas
    • , J.A. Ros
    • , F. Casarramona
    • , C. Schnabel
    • , A. Roca
    • , C. Labordena
    • , O. Canales-Moreno
    • , V. Ferrer
    • , L. Rivas
    • , J.L. Ortiz
    • , J. Fernández-Arozena
    • , L.L. Martín-Rodríguez
    • , A. Cidadão
    • , P. Coelho
    • , P. Figuereido
    • , R. Gonçalves
    • , C. Marciano
    • , R. Nunes
    • , P. Ré
    • , C. Saraiva
    • , F. Tonel
    • , J. Clérigo
    • , C. Oliveira
    • , C. Reis
    • , B.M. Ewen-Smith
    • , S. Ward
    • , D. Ford
    • , J. Gonçalves
    • , J. Porto
    • , J. Laurindo Sobrinho
    • , F. Teodoro de Gois
    • , M. Joaquim
    • , J. Afonso da Silva Mendes
    • , E. van Ballegoij
    • , R. Jones
    • , H. Callender
    • , W. Sutherland
    • , S. Bumgarner
    • , M. Imbert
    • , B. Mitchell
    • , J. Lockhart
    • , W. Barrow
    • , D. Cornwall
    • , A. Arnal
    • , G. Eleizalde
    • , A. Valencia
    • , V. Ladino
    • , T. Lizardo
    • , C. Guillén
    • , G. Sánchez
    • , A. Peña
    • , S. Radaelli
    • , J. Santiago
    • , K. Vieira
    • , H. Mendt
    • , P. Rosenzweig
    • , O. Naranjo
    • , O. Contreras
    • , F. Díaz
    • , E. Guzmán
    • , F. Moreno
    • , L. Omar Porras
    • , E. Recalde
    • , M. Mascaró
    • , C. Birnbaum
    • , R. Cósias
    • , E. López
    • , E. Pallo
    • , R. Percz
    • , D. Pulupa
    • , X. Simbaña
    • , A. Yajamín
    • , P. Rodas
    • , H. Denzau
    • , M. Kretlow
    • , P. Valdés Sada
    • , R. Hernández
    • , A. Hernández
    • , B. Wilson
    • , E. Castro
    •  & J.M. Winkel

    Icarus (2009)

  • Photometric study of the major satellites of Uranus

    • V. V. Avramchuk
    • , V. K. Rosenbush
    •  & T. P. Bul’ba

    Solar System Research (2007)

  • Ion irradiation: Its relevance to the evolution of complex organics in the outer solar system

    • G Strazzulla

    Advances in Space Research (1997)

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.