Don’t laugh, but we just found something mysterious near Uranus

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Don’t laugh, but we just found something mysterious near Uranus

(Picture Getty)

It’s every school child’s favourite planet, because it sounds like bottoms – and we just found something mysterious in its (ahem) rings.

Uranus – stop laughing at the back – is the third-largest planet in our solar system, but it’s not been studied a huge amount, as it’s 20 times further from the Sun as our planet is.

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But University of Idaho scientists have just found what might be two never-before-seen moons hidden in its rings (stop sniggering).

Data captured by the Voyager 2 probe in 1986 suggests a wavy pattern in two of Uranus’s 13 rings – which may be caused by unseen moons.

An artist

Voyager 2 (Photo by NASA/Handout/Corbis via Getty Images)

The researchers write – in a pre-print paper, ‘These patterns may be wakes from small moonlets orbiting exterior to these rings.’

If there are more moons (Uranus already has 27) they would be small – just two to nine miles across.