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Uranus XXIV

The outermost of the moons of Uranus, Ferdinand orbits its primary planet at a mean distance of nearly twenty-one million kilometres, three kilometres farther from the planet than the next moon inward, Setebos. Ferdinand is a small moon, with an estimated diameter of just over twenty kilometres.

Ferdinand follows a retrograde orbit, travelling in the opposite direction to the rotation of Uranus. This implies that it originated as an asteroidal body captured by Uranus' gravity, rather than forming as part of the original planetary system. Ferdinand follows a signficantly eccentric orbit, strongly elliptical in form, and this orbit takes it a period of just under eight years to complete.

This moon was originally discovered in the year 2001, but was briefly lost until it was rediscovered two years later, and the details of its orbit were confirmed. Following convention for the moons of Uranus, Ferdinand is named for a character from Shakespeare; specifically, it is named for Ferdinand, the prince of Naples in The Tempest.


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