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Uranus XX

A small moon of Uranus, estimated to measure some thirty kilometres across, that follows a highly inclined retrograde orbit some eight million kilometres from the planet. This retrograde orbit (that is, counter to the direction of Uranus' rotation) implies that Stephano was not formed as part of the Uranian system, but rather represents a body captured and pulled into orbit by Uranus' gravity.

Stephano's orbit around Uranus follows a very similar path to that of another slightly larger moon named Caliban. This seems to suggest that the two moons were formed as part of the same event, and indeed Stephano may conceivably represent material that broke away from Caliban during its capture (or at some later point in its history).

The moon Stephano, like most of the moons of Uranus, takes its name from Shakespearean character. The literary Stephano was a butler in the play The Tempest, who allied himself with the monster Caliban, an appropriate connection given the relationship of their two namesake moons.


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