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Titania is the largest moon of the planet Uranus.


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Titania was discovered on January 11, 1787 by William Herschel. He reported Titania and Oberon the same year. He later reported four more satellites, which turned out to be spurious.

Name and pronunciation of Titania.

The names of Titania and the other four satellites of Uranus then known were suggested by Herschel's son John Herschel in 1852 at the request of William Lassell, who had discovered Ariel and Umbriel the year before. Lassell had earlier endorsed Herschel's 1847 naming scheme for the seven then-known satellites of Saturn and had named his newly-discovered eighth satellite Hyperion in accordance with Herschel's naming scheme in 1848.

All of the moons of Uranus are named for characters from Shakespeare or Alexander Pope. Titania was named after Titania, the Queen of the Faeries in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The correct pronunciation of Shakespeare's character is ti-taa'-ny, but the incorrect tye-tan'-ee-, is sometimes used for the moon.

It is also designated Uranus III.

Physical characteristics of Titania.

Titania Moon.
Uranus Moon Titania.
Uranus Moon Titania.
Discovery
Discovered by William Herschel
Discovered in January 11, 1787
Orbital characteristics
Semi-major axis 435,910 km
Mean radius 436,300 km
eccentricity 0.0011
Orbital period 8.706 d
inclination 0.340º (to Uranus' equator)
Is a Satellite of Uranus
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter 1577.8 km

(0.1237 Earths)

Surface area 7,820,000 km2
Volume 2,057,000,000 km3
mass 3.5261021 kg

(5.910-4 Earths)

Mean density 1.72 g/cm3
Surface gravity 0.378 m/s2 (~0.039 g)
escape velocity 0.77 km/s
Rotation period synchronous
axial tilt zero
Albedo 0.27
Surface temp.
minmeanmax
 ? K ~60 K  ? K
Atmospheric pressure  
Titania.
The highest resolution image of Titania.

So far the only close-up images of Titania are from the Voyager 2 probe, which photographed the moon during its Uranus flyby in January, 1986. At the time of the flyby the southern hemisphere of the moon was pointed towards the Sun so only it was studied.

Although its interior composition is uncertain, one model suggests that Titania is composed of roughly 50% water ice, 30% silicate rock, and 20% methane-related organic compounds. A major surface feature is a huge canyon that dwarfs the scale of the Grand Canyon on Earth and is in the same class as the Valles Marineris on Mars or Ithaca Chasma on Saturn's moon Tethys.

Scientists recognise the following geological features on Titania:

  • Chasmata (chasms).
  • Craters.
  • Rupes (scarps).

Occultation of Titania.

On September 8, 2001, Titania occulted a faint star; this was an opportunity to both refine its diameter and ephemeris, and to detect any extant atmosphere. The data revealed no atmosphere to a surface pressure of 0.03 microbars; if it exists, it would have to be far thinner than that of Triton or Pluto.

Trivia about Titania.

  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars contains a description of a colony on Titania, where humans have adapted to the low gravity and light levels.
  • Astronomy Domine, a song by Pink Floyd, refers to Titania as well as Oberon and Miranda.

Notes on Titania.

  1. Herschel, "An Account of the Discovery of Two Satellites Revolving Round the Georgian Planet", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 77, pp. 125-129, 1787; and "On George's Planet and its satellites", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 78, pp. 364-378, 1788.
  2. "On the Discovery of Four Additional Satellites of the Georgium Sidus; The Retrograde Motion of Its Old Satellites Announced; And the Cause of Their Disappearance at Certain Distances from the Planet Explained", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 88, pp. 47-79, 1798.



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