Uranus
uranus.png

This gas giant is named after Ouranos, the Greek god and personification of the sky, husband of Gaia and father to the Titans, including Cronus and Rhea. It is the only planet in our solar system not named after a Roman god; the Roman counterpart of this planet's namesake is Caelus, son of Aether.

By the way, not that anyone asked, but I insist upon the pronunciation [ˈuːranʊs], which neglects the phantom "y" sound at the beginning, and uses the short a instead of the long a.

Unlike the previous six planets, observation of this one does not go back to antiquity. In 1690, John Flamsteed incorrectly identified it as a star, and named it 34 Tauri. It was discovered to be a planet in 1781 by Sir William Herschel. In a pretty block-headed move, he named it Georgium Sidus, after King George the Third. Everyone outside of Britain thought that was really dumb. It received a few other proposed names for a while: Jérôme Lalande proposed Herschel, Erik Prosperin proposed the later-used Neptune, but Johann Elert Bode's proposal of Uranus is the one that stuck.

The symbol for this planet was proposed by Bode and is derived from the alchemical symbol for platinum, and was intended as a composition of the symbols for Mars and the Sun: A circle with a solar dot, and an arrow pointing upwards. It is represented in Unicode as U+26E2, with the symbol ⛢.

There is an alternate symbol proposed by Lalande, descibed as "a globe surmounted by the first letter of [Herschel's] surname." It is represented in Unicode as U+2645, with the symbol ♅. I re-use this concept in the symbol for 2000 Herschel.

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As of July 2018, there are 27 known moons of Uranus, all named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. I give all of the moons symbols that visually relate to that of Uranus, in that they all have upward-pointing arrows. The moons were originally named with the thought that they would all be fairies or spirits of air from English literature; that didn't stick, but in their symbols they can still be oriented to the heavens. All 27 moons are presented here in increasing order of orbital radius:

Name Description of referent Description of symbol Symbol
Cordelia As 2758 Cordelia, one of the daughters of the eponymous king of King Lear. Symbol
Ophelia As 171 Ophelia, the friend and love interest of the eponymous Hamlet. Symbol
Bianca Different referent than 218 Bianca; from The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca was the ideal woman to contrast Katherina, the "shrew." Symbol
Cressida Symbol
Desdemona As 666 Desdemona, Symbol
Juliet The female protagonist from Romeo and Juliet. Symbol
Portia The rich heiress from The Merchant of Venice, suffering many suitors. Her father said in his will that her marriage would be determined by a suitor's selection from a set of three caskets. The three caskets: a trio of tiny circles, one on top of two, with an up arrow. Symbol
Rosalind Heroine of As You Like It, one of Shakespeare's most fully realized female characters. She is disguised as Ganymede for most of the play. A cup, with an up arrow. Symbol
Cupid As 763 Cupido (sort of), from Timon of Athens. Heart with an up arrow, perhaps. Symbol
Belinda Heroine of The Rape of the Lock, who suffers the theft of the eponymous lock of hair from the greedy and cruel Baron. As Coma Berenices, with an up arrow. Symbol
Perdita Heroine of The Winter's Tale, grew up as a shepherd's daughter, not knowing that she was actually princess of Sicilia. Symbol
Puck The mischevious fairy and servant of Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Caused Titania and some mortals strife with a potion from a plant touched by Cupid's arrow. Flower and heart, with an up arrow. Symbol
Mab Queen Mab, midwife of the fairies and granter of sleep, as referred to by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Symbol
Miranda The female character from The Tempest, daughter of Prospero, falls in love with Ferdinand. Symbol
Ariel From The Rape of the Lock, a sylph who watches over Belinda and foretells impending doom for her. Symbol
Umbriel A female gnome from The Rape of the Lock, who retrieves bags and vials containing abstractions of sorrow and grief. Symbol
Titania As 593 Titania, Queen of the Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Symbol
Oberon King of the Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Symbol
Francisco One of the lords attendant of King Alonso from The Tempest. He has just two lines in the whole play. Symbol
Caliban From The Tempest, the monstrous offspring of Sycorax. Prospero forced him to become his servant. An up-turned crescent, with a small circle behind it, and an up arrow. The crescent represents his description as a "mooncalf", and also horns, which represent his possible status as a child of a devil, and also a monstrous smile, representing the seeming glee with which he commits evil. The empty, concealed circle represents the many depictions and meanings that are projected onto this being, like a blank unseeable canvas. Symbol
Stephano The drunken butler of Alonso, King of Naples, from The Tempest. He's the guy with the wine. A wineglass symbol, with an up arrow. Symbol
Trinculo The drunken jester of Alonso, King of Naples, from The Tempest. Symbol
Sycorax A witch or sorceress from the backstory of The Tempest. Mother of Caliban, and implicitly the foil of Prospero. Symbol
Margaret Attendant of Hero, a young heroine from Much Ado About Nothing. At certain times, she pretends to be or is mistaken for Hero. Symbol
Prospero Powerful sorcerer and deposed Duke of Milan from The Tempest. Father of Miranda. A rectangle divided vertically into four, representing the books he learned his Art from, with an up arrow representing his staff. Symbol
Setebos The demonic deity said to be worshipped by Sycorax from The Tempest. The name actually comes from Patagonian native beliefs, as the god Setteboth, as recounted by Magellan [1]. It is said that they cried out his name for protection. Symbol
Ferdinand Virtuous young prince, son of Alonso, from The Tempest. Wins the heart of Miranda. Symbol

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[1] "Setebos." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved July 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: [http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/setebos]

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