Teacher: Mr. Benec
School: St. Barbara
City: Mississauga, Ontario
Everyone has heard of Uranus. It is the seventh planet in our solar system, with Neptune being the eighth. However, most people have not heard of Ariel, one of Uranus’ 27 moons. It holds a few mysteries - it has an intriguing face, and that may be able to unravel a part of its history, which is definitely a tale to tell.
Of all of Uranus' moons, Ariel is by far one of the most interesting. At around -213°C, Ariel is one of the coldest celestial objects in our solar system. It is about 2871 million kilometers from the Sun, which explains its frostiness. It is believed to be composed of roughly equal amounts of water ice and a rocky material called silicate rock. Traces of carbon dioxide have also been detected on Ariel. At a circumference of 3637 km and a surface area of 4211300 km2, Ariel is the fourth largest of all of Uranus’ discovered moons.
Who discovered this moon brimming with facts, history, and an icy quality? In 1851, William Lassell caught sight of this cosmic beauty. Ariel is named after a mischievous spirit in one of Shakespeare's great works, ‘The Tempest’. Much like the character it was named for, Ariel is quite intriguing; it has a heavily cratered surface peppered with canyons, ridges, and deep banks and slopes called scarps.
Ariel’s orbital period takes about 60 hours, which is almost three days on Earth. Its orbital speed is quite fast, though: 5.5 km per second! Ariel revolves around Uranus at a distance of 190,900 km, which makes it the second closest moon to Uranus.
So, is Ariel mysterious, captivating, and worthy to explore? It is drawing everyone in not because of its gravitational pull, but because it is fascinating and it's got riveting secrets.