How Did the Planet Uranus Get Its Name?


Quick Answer

Uranus derives its name from the ancient Greek god of the sky. Because it was discovered thousands of years after the six planets closer to Earth, its name comes from Greek rather than Roman mythology.

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Full Answer

The British astronomer who discovered the planet in 1781 initially attempted to name it after King George III, but other astronomers formed a consensus to continue in the tradition of naming planets after ancient Greek and Roman gods. Diverging from that tradition, several of Uranus' moons are named after figures from the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope, including the largest two moons, Oberon and Titania.

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