Teacher: Ms. Boehlke
School: Crosby Heights
City: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Undoubtedly one of our solar system’s most brilliant moons, Oberon was named after the King of Fairies from Shakespeare’s renowned comedy, A Midsummer Night Dream. In the piece, Oberon was said to bring blessings of health and peace but also had a portentous underside, similar to how less than half of the moon has been discovered by astronomers, while the other side remains a dark secrecy. Sparking emotions of inquisitiveness and uncertainty, Oberon is an oddity waiting to be unravelled.
Bearing the title of the second-largest and outermost moon of Uranus, Oberon was discovered in 1787 by the astronomer William Herschel. The moon consists of a fair amount of ice and rock and orbits Uranus once every 13 days. Oberon has the most prototypical surface of the moons; filled with craters and chastma, indicating that it has the most ancient exterior of the bunch. The floors of many of these craters contain obscure dark patches, and even the best of astronomers are unable to pinpoint their specific origin. One theory suggests that after impact, it could be "dirty water" which upwelled into the crater, while another idea says that the spots are of cryovolcanic nature.
Though scattered with plenty of craters, Oberon still has room for another major geological feature; its fascinating system of canyons. These canyons’ sides are made up of offsets in the ground produced by faults that can either be degraded or fresh. Most notably, the Mommur Chasma is the most conspicuous Oberonian canyon, a feature that was likely formed during crustal extension during the beginning stages of the moon’s evolution.
With so many questions waiting to be answered, the exploration of this captivating moon is much belated, and the Magnificent King of Fairies is ready for his long-awaited reunion with a spacecraft.