Illustration of  Voyager spacecraft against a backdrop of stars

A new moon orbiting the planet Uranus has been discovered in images taken by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft.

Voyager imaging team scientists at JPL found the small moon in long-exposure images of Uranus and its rings taken by Voyager 2's narrow-angle camera in late December. Conclusive evidence of the satellite's orbit was seen in pictures taken Dec. 31, 1985 when the spacecraft was about 31 million kilometers (19 million miles) from Uranus.

Voyager 2 will fly by Uranus on Jan. 24, 1986.

The new satellite, designated 1985 U1, is the sixth known to orbit Uranus. It is about 75 kilometers (45 miles) in diameter, and occupies an orbit 86,000 kilometers (53,500 miles) from the center of the planet, between the moon Miranda and the outermost of Uranus' nine known rings. The moon orbits Uranus every 18 hours, 17 minutes, 9 seconds.

The spacecraft's flight path has been planned to pass between the rings and Miranda. The new moon will not be in position to endanger Voyager 2 as it passes the planet.

The Voyager mission is conducted by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA).

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