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STATES CHRONICLE – After surprising us with diamond rain, an inclined axis, and a peculiar rotation, Uranus adds a new major astronomical event on the list. Scientists discovered two of its moons, Cressida and Desdemona, are in danger of collision. Fortunately, this is predicted to happen in about several millions of years.
Cressida and Desdemona will likely clash
A team of researchers from the University of Idaho studied Uranus and discovered the moon Cressida was likely to crash into its neighbor Desdemona. They suspect the culprit is the huge gravitational pull issued by Cressida on the planet’s rings. While studying this moon and its mass, they were able to predict the event should happen in a few millions of years.
Uranus’ moons are quite crowded, as they are placed at a distance of 11,184 miles from one another. Cressida has about 1/300,000 of the mass of our moon, and measures 82 km across. Desdemona is much smaller than that, and is placed on an orbit which is only 900 km away from the other moon’s. This makes it highly likely to clash at a certain point.
It’s no novelty for Uranus’ moons to collide
In 1986, the Voyager 2 space probe flew by Uranus and discovered 10 moons orbiting the planet. Until today, scientists discovered 17 more, with most of them being made up of ice. In fact, Cressida and Desdemona are not the only ones predicted to collide. Some time ago, scientists suggested Cupid and Belinda should also end up in a collision some time starting with 1,000 years from now.
Another particularity of Uranus’ moons is the fact that they are extremely dense. This increases their chances to collide. Scientists say these would not be the first moons to clash, and the planet’s rings are most likely made up of debris coming from other moon collisions.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons