Newly Discovered Moons and Rings of Uranus (Annotated)

These composite images from several observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal a pair of newly discovered rings encircling the planet Uranus. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

Discovery

Mab was discovered on Aug. 23, 2003 by Mark R. Showalter and Jack J. Lissauer, using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Overview

Mab is a small, inner moon of Uranus. It orbits at the same distance as one of the planet's rings, the Mu ring, and in fact may provide dust for that ring when the moon is struck by small meteoroids or ring particles. Because of its small size and dark color, it was overlooked in the Voyager 2 images until after it was spotted with a ground-based telescope in 2003.

How Mab Got its Name

Mab is queen of the fairies in English folklore. She is mentioned in a speech given in William Shakespeare's play, "Romeo and Juliet," so the name is at least somewhat in keeping with the practice of naming most Uranian moons after characters in Shakespeare's plays. The original designation for this moon was S/2003 U1.​

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