Newly-discovered Moons Named for Shakespeare Characters

News   Newly-discovered Moons Named for Shakespeare Characters
 
Last October, astronomers discovered two tiny moons -- the faintest ever picked up by Earth-bound telescopes -- circling the planet Uranus. According to the Associated Press, unlike the planet's other 15 previously known moons, which follow nearly circular orbits, the new guys have irregular, oblong orbits.

Last October, astronomers discovered two tiny moons -- the faintest ever picked up by Earth-bound telescopes -- circling the planet Uranus. According to the Associated Press, unlike the planet's other 15 previously known moons, which follow nearly circular orbits, the new guys have irregular, oblong orbits. Why is Playbill On-Line reporting this? Because the astronomers from Cornell University, the University of Toronto and McMaster University have proposed naming the moons "Caliban" and "Sycorax," two characters from William Shakespeare's comedy/drama, The Tempest. Uranus' largest moon, Miranda, is named for another character in that play.

Cornell astronomer Philip Nicholson told AP the moons' "physical properties may provide clues to conditions in the early solar system."

-- By David Lefkowitz

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