• 700km radius satellite of Uranus, discovered in 1851, and orbiting Uranus in a retrograde 191 000km orbit every 2.52 days. Ariel’s surface is cut by deep, wide channels like flood channels on the Earth. Ariel is an icy world with a comparatively uncratered surface.


  • An "airy spirit" in Shakespeare's The Tempest.Before the action of the play begins, Ariel was enslaved to the witchSycorax, who punished his disobedience by shutting him up in a clovenpine tree for 12 years. Prospero liberated him and was subsequentlyserved by the spirit in all his plans. At the end of the play he setsAriel free.

    Ariel was also the name of the boat in which Percy ByssheShelley drowned in the Bay of Lerici in July 1822 - the poet havingchosen it in allusion to his favourite play. His tombstone carries threelines from one of Ariel's songs in The Tempest:

    Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a sea change
    Into something rich and strange.