Uranus Was Almost Named What?
In 1781 astronomer William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus with the aide of a telescope. Although Uranus is visible to the naked eye under ideal conditions, it is so dim and so slow to orbit the Sun it was considered to be a star prior to Herschel’s observations and calculations.
When it came time to name the newly-identified planet, Herschel proposed naming it Georgium Sidus, or George’s Star in honor of his patron and the King of England George III. This suggestion proved quite unpopular outside of England. Several other names were proposed over the ensuing years, including Neptune. Ultimately Uranus, a Latinized version of Ouranos, the Greek god of the sky, gained the most favor. By 1789 astronomers the world over were referring to the distant planet as Uranus.