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Astrogeology Research Program


Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature

Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers


This page shows information about planetary bodies named by the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN), as well as bodies named by the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature that have surface features named by the WGPSN.

List of asteroid names


Mercury
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Mercury Named Mercurius by the Romans because it appears to move so swiftly.      


Venus
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Venus Roman name for the goddess of love. This planet was considered to be the brightest and most beautiful planet or star in the heavens. Other civilizations have named it for their god or goddess of love/war.      


Earth System
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Earth The name Earth comes from the Indo-European base 'er,'which produced the Germanic noun 'ertho,' and ultimately German 'erde,' Dutch 'aarde,' Scandinavian 'jord,' and English 'earth.' Related forms include Greek 'eraze,' meaning 'on the ground,' and Welsh 'erw,' meaning 'a piece of land.'      
Moon Every civilization has had a name for the satellite of Earth that is known, in English, as the Moon. The Moon is known as Luna in Italian, Latin, and Spanish, as Lune in French, as Mond in German, and as Selene in Greek.      


Martian System
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Mars Named by the Romans for their god of war because of its red, bloodlike color. Other civilizations also named this planet from this attribute; for example, the Egyptians named it "Her Desher," meaning "the red one."      
Phobos Inner satellite of Mars. Named for one of the horses that drew Mars' chariot; also called an "attendant" or "son" of Mars, according to chapter 15, line 119 of Homer's "Iliad." This Greek word means "flight." August 17, 1877 Washington A. Hall
Deimos This outer Martian satellite was named for one of the horses that drew Mars' chariot; also called an "attendant" or "son" of Mars, according to chapter 15, line 119 of Homer's "Iliad." Deimos means "fear" in Greek. August 11, 1877 Washington A. Hall


Asteroids and their Satellites
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Dactyl (1993(243)1) Named for a group of mythological beings who lived on Mount Ida, where the infant Zeus was hidden and raised (according to some accounts) by the nymph Ida. August 28, 1993   Galileo imaging and infrared science teams.
Eros Named for the Greek god of love. August 13, 1898 Berlin C.G. Witt
Gaspra Named for a resort on the Crimean Peninsula. July 30, 1916 Simeis G. Neujmin
Ida Named for a nymph who raised the infant Zeus. Ida is also the name of a mountain on the island of Crete, the location of the cave where Zeus was reared. September 29, 1884 Vienna J. Palisa
Mathilde The name was suggested by a staff member of the Paris Observatory who first computed an orbit for Mathilde. The name is thought to honor the wife of the vice director of the Paris Observatory at that time. November 12, 1885 Vienna J. Palisa
Linus Satellite of (22) Kalliope. In various accounts of Greek mythology, Linus is considered to be the son of the Muse Kalliope and the inventor of melody and rhythm. August 29 and September 2, 2001 Mauna Kea J.-L. Margot, M.E. Brown, W.J. Merline, F. Menard, L. Close, C. Dumas, C.R. Chapman, and D.C. Slater
Petit-Prince Satellite of (45) Eugenia. The Little Prince, Napolean-Eugene-Louis-Jean-Joseph Bonaparte (1856-1879), was the son of Eugenia de Montijo de Guzm\'an and Napoleon III. November 1, 1998 Mauna Kea W.J. Merline, L. Close, C. Dumas, C.R. Chapman, F. Roddier, F. Menard, D.C. Slater, G. Duvert, C. Shelton, and T. Morgan


Jovian System
Satellites in the Jovian system are named for Zeus/Jupiter's lovers and descendants. Names of outer satellites with a prograde orbit generally end with the letter "a" (although an "o" ending has been reserved for some unusual cases), and names of satellites with a retrograde orbit end with an "e."
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Jupiter The largest and most massive of the planets was named Zeus by the Greeks and Jupiter by the Romans; he was the most important deity in both pantheons.      
Io (JI) Io, the daughter of Inachus, was changed by Jupiter into a cow to protect her from Hera's jealous wrath. But Hera recognized Io and sent a gadfly to torment her. Io, maddened by the fly, wandered throughout the Mediterranean region. January 8, 1610 Padua Galileo (Simon Marius probably made an independent discovery of the Galilean satellites at about the same time that Galileo did, and he may have unwittingly sighted them up to a month earlier, but the priority must go to Galileo because he published his discovery first.)
Europa (JII) Beautiful daughter of Agenor, king of Tyre, she was seduced by Jupiter, who had assumed the shape of a white bull. When Europa climbed on his back he swam with her to Crete, where she bore several children, including Minos. January 8, 1610 Padua Galileo (who evidently observed the combined image of Io and Europa the previous night)
Ganymede (JIII) Beautiful young boy who was carried to Olympus by Jupiter disguised as an eagle. Ganymede then became the cupbearer of the Olympian gods. January 7, 1610 Padua Galileo
Callisto (JIV) Beautiful daughter of Lycaon, she was seduced by Jupiter, who changed her into a bear to protect her from Hera's jealousy. January 7, 1610 Padua Galileo
Amalthea (JV) A naiad who nursed the new-born Jupiter. She had as a favorite animal a goat which is said by some authors to have nourished Jupiter. The name was suggested by Flammarion. September 9, 1892 Mt. Hamilton E.E. Barnard
Himalia (JVI) A Rhodian nymph who bore three sons of Zeus. December 4, 1904 Mt. Hamilton C.D. Perrine
Elara (JVII) Daughter of King Orchomenus, a paramour of Zeus, and by him the mother of the giant Tityus. January 3, 1905 Mt. Hamilton C.D. Perrine
Pasiphaë (JVIII) Wife of Minos, king of Crete. Zeus made approaches to her as a bull (taurus). She then gave birth to the Minotaur. January 27, 1908 Greenwich P.J. Melotte
Sinope (JIX) Daughter of the river god Asopus. Zeus desired to make love to her. Instead of this he granted perpetual virginity, after he had been deceived by his own promises. (In the same way, she also fooled Apollo.) July 21, 1914 Mt. Hamilton S.B. Nicholson
Lysithea (JX) Daughter of Kadmos, also named Semele, mother of Dionysos by Zeus. According to others, she was the daughter of Evenus and mother of Helenus by Jupiter. July 6, 1938 Mt. Wilson S.B. Nicholson
Carme (JXI) A nymph and attendant of Artemis; mother, by Zeus, of Britomartis. July 30, 1938 Mt. Wilson S.B. Nicholson
Ananke (JXII) Goddess of fate and necessity, mother of Adrastea by Zeus. September 28, 1951 Mt. Wilson S.B. Nicholson
Leda (JXIII) Seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan, she was the mother of Pollux and Helen. September 11, 1974 Palomar C.T. Kowal
Thebe (JXIV, 1979 J2) An Egyptian king's daughter, granddaughter of Io, mother of Aigyptos by Zeus. The Egyptian city of Thebes was named after her. March 5, 1979 Voyager 1 Voyager Science Team
Adrastea (JXV, 1979 J1) A nymph of Crete to whose care Rhea entrusted the infant Zeus. July, 1979 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Metis (JXVI, 1979 J3) First wife of Zeus. He swallowed her when she became pregnant; Athena was subsequently born from the forehead of Zeus. March 4, 1979 Voyager 1 Voyager Science Team
Callirrhoe (JXVII, 1999 J1) Daughter of the river god Achelous and stepdaughter of Jupiter. October 19, 1999 Spacewatch J.V. Scotti, T.B. Spahr, R.S. McMillan, J.A. Larson, J. Montani, A.E. Gleason, and T. Gehrels
Themisto (JXVIII, 1975 J1, 2000 J1) Daughter of the Arcadian river god Inachus, mother of Ister by Zeus. September 30, 1975, rediscovered November 21, 2000 Palomar, rediscovered at Mauna Kea C.T. Kowal and E. Roemer (1975), and S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, G. Magnier, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, and G.V. Williams (2000).
Megaclite (JXIX, 2000 J8) Daughter of Macareus, who with Zeus gave birth to Thebe and Locrus. November 25, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Taygete (JXX, 2000 J9) Daughter of Atlas, one of the Pleiades, mother of Lakedaimon by Zeus. November 25, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Chaldene (JXXI, 2000 J10) Bore the son Solymos with Zeus. November 25, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Harpalyke (JXXII, 2000 J5) Daughter and wife of Clymenus. In revenge for this incestuous relationship, she killed the son she bore him, cooked the corpse, and served it to Clymenus. She was transformed into the night bird called Chalkis, and Clymenus hanged himself. Some say that she was transformed into that bird because she had intercourse with Zeus. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Kalyke (JXXIII, 2000 J2) Nymph who bore the handsome son Endymion with Zeus. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Iocaste (JXXIV, 2000 J3) Wife of Laius, King of Thebes, and mother of Oedipus. After Laius was killed, Iocaste unknowingly married her own son Oedipus. When she learned that her husband was her son, she killed herself. Some say she was the mother of Agamedes by Jupiter. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Erinome (JXXV, 2000 J4) Daughter of Celes, compelled by Venus to fall in love with Jupiter. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Isonoe (JXXVI, 2000 J6) A Danaid, bore with Zeus the son Orchomenos. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Praxidike (JXXVII, 2000 J7) Goddess of punishment, mother of Klesios by Zeus. November 23, 2000 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, Y.R. Fernandez, and G. Magnier
Autonoe (JXXVIII, 2001 J1) Mother of the Graces by Jupiter according to some authors. December 10, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Thyone (JXXIX, 2001 J2) Semele, mother of Dionysos by Zeus. She received the name of Thyone in Hades by Dionysos before he ascended up with her from there to heaven. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Hermippe (JXXX, 2001 J3) Consort of Zeus and mother of Orchomenos by him. December 9, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Aitne (JXXXI, 2001 J11) A Sicilian nymph, conquest of Zeus. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Eurydome (JXXXII, 2001 J4) Mother of the Graces by Zeus, according to some authors. (Source: Cornutus: Theologiae Graecae compendium 15) December 9, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Euanthe (JXXXIII, 2001 J7) The mother of the Graces by Zeus, according to some authors. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Euporie (JXXXIV, 2001 J10) One of the Horae, a daughter of Jupiter and Themis. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Orthosie (JXXXV, 2001 J9) One of the Horae, a daughter of Jupiter and Themis. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Sponde (JXXXVI, 2001 J5) One of the Horae (Seasons), daughter of Jupiter. December 9, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Kale (JXXXVII, 2001 J8) One of the Graces, a daughter of Zeus, husband of Hephaistos. December 9, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Pasithee (JXXXVIII, 2001 J6) One of the Graces, a daughter of Zeus. December 11, 2001 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt and J. Kleyna
Hegemone (JXXXIX, 2003 J8) One of the Graces, a daughter of Zeus. February 8, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Mneme (JXL, 2003 J21) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 9, 2003 Mauna Kea B. Gladman and L. Allen
Aoede (JXLI, 2003 J7) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 8, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Thelxinoe (JXLII, 2003 J22) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 9, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Arche (JXLIII, 2002 J1) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. October 31, 2002 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Kallichore (JXLIV, 2003 J11) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 6, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Helike (JXLV, 2003 J6) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 6, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Carpo (JXLVI, 2003 J20) One of the Horae, a daughter of Zeus. February 26, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Eukelade (JXLVII, 2003 J1) One of the Muses, a daughter of Zeus. February 5, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard
Cyllene (JXLVIII, 2003 J13) Daughter of Zeus, a nymph. February 9, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard


Saturnian System
Satellites in the saturnian system are named for Greco-Roman titans, descendants of the titans, the Roman god of the beginning, and giants from Greco-Roman and other mythologies. Gallic, Inuit and Norse names identify three different orbit inclination groups, where inclinations are measured with respect to the ecliptic, not Saturn's equator or orbit. Retrograde satellites (those with an inclination of 90 to 180 degrees) are named for Norse giants (except for Phoebe, which was discovered long ago and is the largest). Prograde satellites with an orbit inclination of around 36 degrees are named for Gallic giants, and prograde satellites with an inclination of around 48 degrees are named for Inuit giants.
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Saturn Roman name for the Greek Cronos, father of Zeus/Jupiter. Other civilizations have given different names to Saturn, which is the farthest planet from Earth that can be observed by the naked human eye. Most of its satellites were named for Titans who, according to Greek mythology, were brothers and sisters of Saturn.      
Mimas (SI) Named by Herschel's son John in the early 19th century for a Giant felled by Hephaestus (or Ares) in the war between the Titans and Olympian gods. July 18, 1789 Slough W. Herschel
Enceladus (SII) Named by Herschel's son John for the Giant Enceladus. Enceladus was crushed by Athene in the battle between the Olympian gods and the Titans. Earth piled on top of him became the island of Sicily. August 28, 1789 Slough W. Herschel
Tethys (SIII) Cassini wished to name Tethys and the other three satellites that he discovered (Dione, Rhea, and Iapetus) for Louis XIV. However, the names used today for these satellites were applied in the early 19th century by John Herschel, who named them for Titans and Titanesses, brothers and sisters of Saturn. Tethys was the wife of Oceanus and mother of all rivers and Oceanids. March 21, 1684 Paris G.D. Cassini
Dione (SIV) Dione was the sister of Cronos and mother (by Zeus) of Aphrodite. March 21, 1684 Paris G.D. Cassini
Rhea (SV) A Titaness, mother of Zeus by Kronos. December 23, 1672 Paris G.D. Cassini
Titan (SVI) Named by Huygens, who first called it "Luna Saturni." March 25, 1655 The Hague C. Huygens
Hyperion (SVII) Named by Lassell for one of the Titans. September 16, 1848 Cambridge, MA W.C. Bond and G.P. Bond; independently discovered September 18, 1848 at Liverpool by W. Lassell
Iapetus (SVIII) Named by John Herschel for one of the Titans. October 25, 1671 Paris G.D. Cassini
Phoebe (SIX) Named by Pickering for one of the Titanesses. August 16, 1898 Arequipa W.H. Pickering
Janus (SX, 1980 S1) First reported (though with an incorrect orbital period) and named by A. Dollfus from observations in Dec. 1966, this satellite was finally confirmed in 1980. It was proven to have a twin, Epimetheus, sharing the same orbit but never actually meeting. It is named for the Roman god of the beginning. The two-faced god could look forward and backward at the same time. December 15, 1966 (Dollfus), February 19, 1980 (Pascu) Pic du Midi (Dollfus), Washington (Pascu) A. Dollfus (1966), D. Pascu (1980)
Epimetheus (SXI, 1980 S3) First suspected by J. Fountain and S. Larson as confusing the detection of Janus. They assigned the correct orbital period, and the satellite was finally confirmed in 1980. Named for the son of the Titan Japetus. In contrast with his far-sighted brother Prometheus, he "subsequently realized" that he was in the wrong. 1977 (Fountain and Larson), February 26, 1980 (Cruikshank) Tucson (Fountain and Larson), Mauna Kea (Cruikshank) J. Fountain and S. Larson (1977), D. Cruikshank (1980)
Helene (SXII, 1980 S6) A granddaughter of Kronos, for her beauty she triggered off the Trojan War. March 1, 1980 Pic du Midi P. Laques and J. Lecacheux
Telesto (SXIII, 1980 S13) Daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. April 8, 1980 Tucson B.A. Smith, H. Reitsema, S.M. Larson, and J. Fountain
Calypso (SXIV, 1980 S25) Daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys and paramour of Odysseus. March 13, 1980 Flagstaff D. Pascu, P.K. Seidelmann, W. Baum, and D. Currie
Atlas (SXV, 1980 S28) A Titan; he held the heavens on his shoulders. October 1980 Voyager 1 Voyager Science Team
Prometheus (SXVI, 1980 S27) Son of the Titan Japetus, brother of Atlas and Epimetheus, he gave many gifts to humanity, including fire. October 1980 Voyager 1 Voyager Science Team
Pandora (SXVII, 1980 S26) Made of clay by Hephaestus at the request of Zeus. She married Epimetheus and opened the box that loosed a host of plagues upon humanity. October 1980 Voyager 1 Voyager Science Team
Pan (SXVIII, 1981 S13) Greek god of pastoralism, he was half goat and half human. Son of Hermes, brother of Daphnis, and a descendant of the Titans. Discovered orbiting in the Encke division in Saturn's A ring. 1990 Voyager 2 M.R. Showalter
Ymir (SXIX, 2000 S1) Ymir is the primordial Norse giant and the progenitor of the race of frost giants. August 7, 2000 La Silla B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Paaliaq (SXX, 2000 S2) Named for an Innuit giant. August 7, 2000 La Silla B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Tarvos (SXXI, 2000 S4) Named for a Gallic giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Ijiraq (SXXII, 2000 S6) Named for an Innuit giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Suttungr (SXXIII, 2000 S12) Named for a Norse giant who kindled flames that destroyed the world. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Kiviuq (SXXIV, 2000 S5) Named for an Innuit giant. August 7, 2000 La Silla B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Mundilfari (SXXV, 2000 S9) Named for an Norse giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Albiorix (SXXVI, 2000 S11) Named for a Gallic giant who was considered to be the king of the world. November 9, 2000 Mt. Hopkins M. Holman
Skathi (SXXVII, 2000 S8) Named for a Norse giantess. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Erriapo (SXXVIII, 2000 S10) Named for a Gallic giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Siarnaq (SXXIX, 2000 S3) Named for an Innuit giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Thrymr (SXXX, 2000 S7) Named for a Norse giant. September 23, 2000 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, H. Scholl, M. Holman, B.G. Marsden, P. Nicholson and J.A. Burns
Narvi (SXXXI, 2003 S1) Named for a Norse giant. February 5, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, and J. Kleyna
Methone (SXXXII, 2004 S1) One of the Alkyonides, the seven beautiful daughters of the Giant Alkyoneos. June 1, 2004   Cassini Imaging Science Team
Pallene (SXXXIII, 2004 S2) One of the Alkyonides, the seven beautiful daughters of the Giant Alkyoneos. June 1, 2004   Cassini Imaging Science Team
Polydeuces (SXXXIV, 2004 S5) Twin brother of Castor, son of Zeus and Leda. October 21, 2004   Cassini Imaging Science Team
Daphnis (SXXXV, 2005 S1) Shepherd, pipes player, and pastoral poet in Greek mythology. Son of Hermes, brother of Pan, and decendant of the Titans. Discovered orbiting in the Keeler gap in Saturn's A ring. May 1, 2005   Cassini Imaging Science Team


Uranian System
Satellites in the uranian system are named for characters from Shakespeare's plays and from Pope's "Rape of the Lock."
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Uranus Several astronomers, including Flamsteed and Le Monnier, had observed Uranus earlier but had recorded it as a fixed star. Herschel tried unsuccessfully to name his discovery "Georgian Sidus" after George III; the planet was named by Johann Bode in 1781 for the father of Saturn. March 13, 1781 Bath W. Herschel
Ariel (UI) Named by John Herschel for a sylph in Pope's "Rape of the Lock." October 24, 1851 Liverpool W. Lassell
Umbriel (UII) Umbriel was named by John Herschel for a malevolent spirit in Pope's "Rape of the Lock." October 24, 1851 Liverpool W. Lassell
Titania (UIII) Named by Herschel's son John in early 19th century for the queen of the fairies in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." January 11, 1787 Slough W. Herschel
Oberon (UIV) Named by Herschel's son John in early 19th century for the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." January 11, 1787 Slough W. Herschel
Miranda (UV) Named by Kuiper for the heroine of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." February 16, 1948 Fort Davis G.P. Kuiper
Cordelia (UVI, 1986 U7) Daughter of Lear in Shakespeare's "King Lear." January 20, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Ophelia (UVII, 1986 U8) Daughter of Polonius, fiance of Hamlet in Shakespeare's "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." January 20, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Bianca (UVIII, 1986 U9) Daughter of Baptista, sister of Kate, in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." January 23, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Cressida (UIX, 1986 U3) Title character in Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida." January 9, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Desdemona (UX, 1986 U6) Wife of Othello in Shakespeare's "Othello, the Moor of Venice." January 13, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Juliet (UXI, 1986 U2) Heroine of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." January 3, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Portia (UXII, 1986 U1) Wife of Brutus in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." January 3, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Rosalind (UXIII, 1986 U4) Daughter of the banished duke in Shakespeare's "As You Like It." January 13, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Belinda (UXIV, 1986 U5) Character in Pope's "Rape of the Lock." January 13, 1986 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Puck (UXV, 1985 U1) Mischievous spirit in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." December 30, 1985 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Caliban (UXVI, 1997 U1) Named for the grotesque, brutish slave in Shakespeare's "The Tempest." September 6, 1997 Palomar B. Gladman, P. Nicholson, J.A. Burns and J. Kavelaars
Sycorax (UXVII, 1997 U2) Named for Caliban's mother in Shakespeare's "The Tempest." September 6, 1997 Palomar P. Nicholson, B. Gladman, J. Burns and J. Kavelaars
Prospero (UXVIII, 1999 U3) Named for the rightful Duke of Milan in "The Tempest." July 18, 1999 Mauna Kea M. Holman, J. Kavelaars, B. Gladman, J.-M. Petit, and H. Scholl
Setebos (UXIX, 1999 U1) Setebos was a new-world (South American) deity's name that Shakespeare popularized as Sycorax's god in "The Tempest." July 18, 1999 Mauna Kea J. Kavelaars, B. Gladman, M. Holman, J.-M. Petit, and H. Scholl
Stephano (UXX, 1999 U2) Named for a drunken butler in "The Tempest." July 18, 1999 Mauna Kea B. Gladman, M. Holman, J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit, and H. Scholl
Trinculo (UXXI, 2001 U1) A jester in Shakespeare's "The Tempest." August 13, 2001 Cerro Tololo M. Holman, J.J. Kavelaars and D. Milisavljevic
Francisco (UXXII, 2001 U3) A lord in "The Tempest." August 13, 2001 Cerro Tololo J. Kavelaars, M. Holman, D. Milisavljevic, and T. Grav
Margaret (UXXIII, 2003 U3) A gentlewoman attending on Hero from "Much Ado About Nothing." August 29, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt
Ferdinand (UXXIV, 2001 U2) Son of the King of Naples in "The Tempest." August 13, 2001 Cerro Tololo D. Milisavljevic, M. Holman, J. Kavelaars, and T. Grav
Perdita (UXXV, 1986 U10) Daughter of Leontes and Hermione in "The Winter's Tale." January 18, 1986 Voyager 2 E. Karkoschka
Mab (UXXVI, 2003 U1) The fairies' midwife in "Romeo and Juliet." August 25, 2003 Hubble Space Telescope M.R. Showalter and J.J. Lissauer
Cupid (UXXVII, 2003 U2) A character in "Timon of Athens." August 25, 2003 Hubble Space Telescope M.R. Showalter and J.J. Lissauer


Neptunian System
Satellites in the neptunian system are named for characters from Greek or Roman mythology associated with Neptune or Poseidon or the oceans. Irregular satellites are named for the Nereids, the daughters of Nereus and Doris, and the attendants of Neptune.
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Neptune Neptune was "predicted" by John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier who, independently, were able to account for the irregularities in the motion of Uranus by correctly predicting the orbital elements of a trans- Uranian body. Using the predicted parameters of Le Verrier (Adams never published his predictions), Johann Galle observed the planet in 1846. Galle wanted to name the planet for Le Verrier, but that was not acceptable to the international astronomical community. Instead, this planet is named for the Roman god of the sea. September 23, 1846 Berlin J.G. Galle
Triton (NI) Triton is named for the sea-god son of Poseidon (Neptune) and Amphitrite. The first suggestion of the name Triton has been attributed to the French astronomer Camille Flammarion. October 10, 1846 Liverpool W. Lassell
Nereid (NII) The Nereids were the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris and were attendants of Neptune. May 1, 1949 Fort Davis G.P. Kuiper
Naiad (NIII, 1989 N6) The name of a group of Greek water nymphs who were guardians of lakes, fountains, springs, and rivers. August 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Thalassa (NIV, 1989 N5) Greek sea goddess. Mother of Aphrodite in some legends; others say she bore the Telchines. August 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Despina (NV, 1989 N3) Daughter of Poseidon (Neptune) and Demeter. July 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Galatea (NVI, 1989 N4) One of the Nereids, attendants of Poseidon. July 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Larissa (NVII, 1989 N2) A lover of Poseidon. After the discovery by Voyager, it was established that an occultation of a star by this satellite had been fortuitously observed in 1981 by H. Reitsema, W. Hubbard, L. Lebofsky, and D. J. Tholen. July 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Proteus (NVIII, 1989 N1) Greek sea god, son of Oceanus and Tethys. June 1989 Voyager 2 Voyager Science Team
Psamathe (NX, 2003 N1) One of the Nereids, lover of Aeacus and mother of Phocus. August 29, 2003 Mauna Kea S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, and J. Kleyna


Plutonian System
Satellites in the plutonian system are named for characters and creatures in the myths surrounding Pluto (Greek Hades) and the classical Greek and Roman Underworld.
Body Description Date of Discovery Discovery Location Discoverer
Pluto Pluto was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ during a systematic search for a trans-Neptune planet predicted by Percival Lowell and William H. Pickering. Named after the Greek god of the underworld who was able to render himself invisible. January 23, 1930 Flagstaff C.W. Tombaugh
Charon (PI, 1978 P1) Named after the mythological boatman who ferried souls across the river Styx to Pluto for judgement. April 13, 1978 Flagstaff J.W. Christy
Nix (PII, S/2005 P2) Goddess of darkness and night, mother of Charon. (Nix is the Egyptian spelling of the Greek name Nyx.) May 15, 2005 Hubble Space Telescope H.A. Weaver, S.A. Stern, M.J. Mutchler, A.J. Steffl, M.W. Buie, W.J. Merline, J.R. Spencer, E.F. Young, and L.A. Young
Hydra (PIII, S/2005 P1) Terrifying monster with the body of a serpent and nine heads that guarded the Underworld. May 15, 2005 Hubble Space Telescope H.A. Weaver, S.A. Stern, M.J. Mutchler, A.J. Steffl, M.W. Buie, W.J. Merline, J.R. Spencer, E.F. Young, and L.A. Young


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