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Ariel, first satellite of the planet Uranus, discovered by W. Lassel in 1851. It has 16 stellar magnitudes, diameter estimated at 900 km, orbital period 2d12h29m, retrograde orbit significantly above circular, inclined at 97 ° 58 ‘on the ecliptic, and away from the center of Uranus the planet of 7,71 rays. International name of the first artificial satellite. A collaboration Anglo-American for research in the ionosphere was launched April 26, 1962, from the US base at Cape Kennedy. After Miranda, Ariel is the second smallest of the five largest spherical satellites of Uranus, and the second closest to the planet.
Among the smallest of the 19 known spherical moons of the solar system, it is believed that it is composed of ice and rock material in more or less equal parts. Like all the moons of Uranus, Ariel is probably formed from an accretion disk surrounding the planet shortly after its formation and, like other large moons, is probably differentiated, with an inner core of rock surrounded by a mantle of ice . Ariel has a complex surface composed of a large cratered terrain crossed by a system of fault scarps, canyons and ridges. The surface shows signs of geological activity more recently than other moons of Uranus, most likely due to the tidal forces. Ariel’s orbit lies completely inside the magnetosphere of Uranus. The hemisphere of the queue (the one that is located on the side opposite to the direction of the orbit) of satellites that orbit without atmosphere inside a magnetosphere is hit by plasma magnetospheric co-rotating with the planet. This bombardment may lead to obscuration hemisphere tail observed for all Uranian moons except Oberon. Ariel also capture the charged particles of the magnetosphere, producing a sharp drop in the count of energetic particles close to the orbit of the moon observed by Voyager 2 in 1986.