How Many Moons Does Uranus Have?

by Fraser Cain on October 10, 2008

Uranus with its moons and rings. Image credit: Hubble

Uranus with its moons and rings. Image credit: Hubble


Have you ever wondered how many moons Uranus has? Like all of the giant planets, it’s got a lot of moons. Astronomers currently think that Uranus has 27 moons.

The largest moons of Uranus are Oberon and Titania, discovered by the same person who discovered Uranus in the first place: William Herschel, in 1787. The next moons, Ariel and Umbriel were discovered by William Lassell. And then it took nearly a century before the last large moon, Miranda, was discovered by Gerard Kuiper in 1948.

If you’re keeping count, we said 27, and we’re only up to 5. NASA’s Voyager spacecraft turned up an additional 10 moons when it made its flyby in 1986, and brought the total up to 15.

After that, astronomers here on Earth have used larger and larger instruments, like the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Keck II telescope in Hawaii to turn up additional moons and even rings.

How many moons does Uranus have? The current count is 27. But maybe we’ll find even more in the next few years, and the number will keep going up. Stay tuned on this one.

We have written many articles about Uranus on Universe Today. Here’s a story about detailed images of Uranus captured from the ground, and here’s an image about the discovery of new moons and rings around Uranus.

Here’s a link to NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide on the moons of Uranus, and here’s an article about a Hubble discovery of new rings and moons around Uranus.

We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast just about Uranus. You can access it here: Episode 62: Uranus.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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