PIA01351: Bright Patches on Ariel

Bright Patches on Ariel


Distinct bright patches are visible on Ariel, the brightest of Uranus' five largest satellites. Voyager 2 obtained this image Jan. 22, 1986, from a distance of 2.52 million kilometers (1.56 million miles). The clear-filter image, obtained with the narrow-angle camera, shows a resolution of 47 km (29 miles). Ariel is about 1,300 km (800 mi) in diameter. This image shows several distinct bright areas that reflect nearly 45 percent of the incident sunlight; on average, the satellite displays a reflectivity of about 25-30 percent. The bright areas are probably fresh water ice, perhaps excavated by impacts. The south pole of Ariel is slightly off center of the disk in this view. Voyager 2 will obtain its best views of the satellite on Jan. 24, at a closest-approach distance of 127,000 km (79,000 mi).

Background Info:

The Voyager project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Ariel Sun, Uranus
System Uranus
Target Type Satellite Planet, Sun
Mission Voyager
Instrument Host Voyager 2
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Narrow Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Grayscale, Visual, Water
Acquisition Date
Release Date 1998-12-05
Date in Caption 1986-01-22
Image Credit NASA/JPL
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01351
Identifier PIA01351