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Hubble Finds Two Tiny Moons Circling Uranus

September 27, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered two tiny moons about the size of San Francisco orbiting Uranus.

The moons are eight to 10 miles across and so faint they were not detected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which discovered several other small moons when it flew past Uranus in 1986.

They are the first small inner moons discovered in more than 50 years and part of a swarm of more than a dozen moons orbiting near the giant gas planet.

The moons are 40 million times fainter than Uranus and blacker than asphalt, so they don't reflect much light. The finding brings the total number of Uranian moons to 24.

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