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Solar System Exploration
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Ferdinand: Overview
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Ferdinand is a very small, dark moon (about 20 km in diameter) which orbits Uranus at a greater distance than any other known satellite of that planet. Its orbit is highly eccentric and in the opposite direction from the regular moons and the rotation of the planet, itself -- known as a retrograde orbit. This suggests that it was an independent body that was captured by Uranus' gravity. Little else is known about it.

Discovery:
Ferdinand was discovered on 13 August 2001 by Dan Milisavljevic, Matthew J. Holman, John J. Kavelaars, and Tommy Grav, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

How Ferdinand Got its Name:
Originally called S/2001 U2, Ferdinand was named for the son of Alonso, king of Naples in William Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest." Ferdinand eventually marries Miranda, daughter of Prospero, and aids his father-in-law in regaining his Dukedom in Milan.

Moons of Uranus are named for characters in Shakespeare's plays and from Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock."

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  20,430,000 km
Mean Radius:  10.0 (assuming an albedo of 0.04) km
Volume:  4,189 km3
Mass:  6,294,407,419,008,210 kg
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Last Updated: 7 Mar 2011