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parallaxicality
2008-Dec-18, 02:51 PM
I'm trying to find a quote in which either William Lassell or John Herschel explains his naming scheme for Uranus's moons. As I remember, they weren't initally meant to be named after Shakespearean characters, but after fairies and spirits in European folklore.

StupendousMan
2008-Dec-18, 03:32 PM
There's a brief mention of the fairy convention in this
short paper by Lassell, in which he attributes the
convention to Herschel.

Lassell, Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 34, p.325

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1852AN.....34..325.

Buttercup
2008-Dec-18, 03:34 PM
I love the names of Uranus' moons; particularly Puck. :)


Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature spirit. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. - wikipedia

There's also (or was) an Irish (?) festival wherein a little black goat would be crowned as "The Puck King" for the day, given special food, etc.

Ariel and Umbriel... ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moons_of_Uranus

grant hutchison
2008-Dec-18, 06:09 PM
As I remember, they weren't initally meant to be named after Shakespearean characters, but after fairies and spirits in European folklore.Not all are Shakespearean: a couple come from Pope's The Rape of the Lock.

Grant Hutchison

aurora
2008-Dec-18, 07:03 PM
I've always thought any new moon should be called "Bottom" (a character in Midsummer Night's Dream).

grant hutchison
2008-Dec-18, 09:27 PM
Looks like the "fairies and spirits in European folklore" plan went astray almost immediately, with the wheels finally coming off in 1948, with Miranda.
Prior to that we have:
Oberon: An old name for the king of the fairies, used by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Titania: A name for the queen of the fairies, coined by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Ariel: An "airy spirit" in Shakespeare's The Tempest and a sylph in Pope's Rape of the Lock; name perhaps borrowed from the traditional name of an angel.
Umbriel: A gnome in Pope's Rape of the Lock.

We've got fairies and spirits, but only one that seems to come from folklore.

Grant Hutchison

AndreasJ
2008-Dec-18, 10:37 PM
I was of the impression the original idea was to use the names of airy spirits, as fitting companions to the god of the sky, not necessarily folkloristic ones.

Warren Platts
2008-Dec-19, 02:35 PM
Looks like the "fairies and spirits in European folklore" plan went astray almost immediately, with the wheels finally coming off in 1948, with Miranda.

Grant Hutchison
Maybe it was Shakespeare's intention that Miranda was really a fairy or spirit, sort of like Decker in Bladerunner.