Aquarius – Physical – Crown: URANUS

Planet Uranus is seventh in order of distance from the Sun and is the third largest of the planets in the solar system. It is only distinguishable to the naked eye when it reaches its greatest brightness, but even the largest telescopes do not show much detail in its pale, greenish disk. Its five satellites are almost imperceptible.

Uranus was the first major body in the solar system to be discovered after the invention of the telescope. On March 13, 1781, astronomer William Herschel, using a six-inch telescope of his own construction, discovered, from his private Observatory in Bath, England, what he initially described as «a curious body which may be either a nebulous star or a comet» and which could be distinguished from the stars by its clearly visible disk.

This observation occurred when the astronomer Herschel was advancing a measurement of all stars below the eighth magnitude, i.e., all those whose luminosity is about ten times fainter than that of stars that are barely visible to the naked eye. Because of the lack of tail traces and its slow motion it was almost immediately concluded that the observations of such a body were consistent with those of a planet moving in a nearly circular orbit. Within the same year, independent studies established that the orbit was planetary, with a radius exceeding about 18 astronomical units (astronomical unit is the average distance from the earth to the sun). The object was thus twice as far from the Sun as Saturn, at that time the planet farthest from the Sun, and its discovery allowed, at once, the size of the solar system to be doubled.

When the planet was just discovered, several names were seriously considered. Herschel himself initially proposed Georgium Sidus (Georgian Planet), in honor of its King, George III of England. The name Georgian appeared intermittently, in England, for more than 50 years, especially in the Nautical Almanac. In France the name Herschel was occasionally used until the middle of the 19th century. However, in the same year of its discovery, the German astronomer Johann Elert Bode had suggested the name Uranus, as the father of Saturn in Roman mythology, who was, in turn, the father of Jupiter.

I invite you to read Matias’ post with the theme of the day

Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being

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