Distant Moons

Distant Moons

by Affelia Wibisono

The first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, observed Uranus from Greenwich some time in 1690, believing it to be a star in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. It would end up being published in his great Atlas Coelestis as a fixed star named 34 Tauri. Nearly a century later in 1781, William Herschel announced his discovery of Uranus as a newly identified planet. The only major planet to be named for a Greek deity, Uranus has five significant satellites and many smaller ones – 27 discovered so far! Three of the largest, named for characters from the writings of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope, are seen in this picture taken using our Great Equatorial Telescope’s 6” Finderscope. Titania, the largest of Uranus’ satellites, is just under half the size of our moon, but at nearly 2 billion miles from Earth appears to us to be over 40 billion times fainter!
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