/oh"beuh ron'/, n.
1. (in medieval folklore) the king of the fairies.
2. Astron. one of the five moons of Uranus.

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 outermost of the five major moons of Uranus and the second largest of the group. Oberon was discovered in 1787 by the English astronomer William Herschel (Herschel, Sir William), who had found Uranus in 1781; it was named by William's son, John Herschel (Herschel, Sir John, 1st Baronet), for a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.

      The mean distance of Oberon from the centre of Uranus is about 582,600 km (362,000 miles), and its orbital period is 13.46 days. Like all of Uranus's large moons, Oberon rotates synchronously with its orbital period, keeping the same hemisphere toward the planet and the same hemisphere forward in its orbit. The moon has a diameter of 1,522 km (946 miles) and a density of 1.63 grams per cubic cm. Like its three large siblings Ariel, Umbriel, and Titania, Oberon is thought to consist of about half water ice, with the remainder made of rocky material and perhaps a small proportion of other frozen volatile materials.

      Photographic images transmitted by the U.S. Voyager 2 spacecraft when it flew past the Uranian system in 1986 revealed that Oberon's surface is old and heavily cratered like the highlands of Earth's Moon. A few of the numerous bright craters appear to have been flooded by some kind of dark material that upwelled from the moon's interior.

Andrew P. Ingersoll

▪ legendary figure
French  Alberon,  German  Alberich,  

      king of the elves, or of the “faerie,” in the French medieval poem Huon de Bordeaux. In this poem Oberon is a dwarf-king, living in the woodland, who by magic powers helps the hero to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. In the legendary history of the Merovingian dynasty Oberon is a magician, the brother of Merowech (Mérovée). In the medieval German epic the Nibelungenlied he is the dwarf who guards the underground treasure of the Nibelungen and is overcome by Siegfried and forced to yield the “cloak of darkness” (the Tarn-kappe). In another Middle High German epic, entitled Ortnit, Alberich appears as the king of the dwarfs and the titular hero's father.

       Huon de Bordeaux, through the prose translation of John Bouchier (Lord Berners), furnished the name Oberon and the fairy element for Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream (first performed 1595–96), Ben Jonson's court masque Oberon, the Faery Prince (1611), and Christoph Martin Wieland's verse romance Oberon (1780). The character is treated again in Carl Maria von Weber's opera Oberon (1826). In the musical dramas of Richard Wagner, Alberich is the Nibelung who steals the magic gold from the Rhine maidens; he is a darker character than his predecessors.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Oberon — Ob er*on ([o^]b [ e]r*[o^]n), prop. n. [F., fr. OF. Auberon; prob. of Frankish origin.] (Medi[ae]val Mythol.) The king of the fairies, and husband of Titania or Queen Mab. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Obĕron — (altfranz. Alberon, dem deutschen Alberich entsprechend), nach mittelalterlicher Sage König der Elfen. Die Stammsage der Merowinger erzählte von einem feindlichen Bruder des Meroveus, dem zauberkundigen Alberich, der seinem ältesten Sohne,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Oberon — Oberon, aus dem französ. Auberon (d.h. Alberich), König der Lichtelfen, Gemahl der Titania, im Sagenkreise Karls d. Gr. vorkommend, durch Wielands romantisches Epos bekannt …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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