Puck (moon)

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Discovered byStephen P. Synnott / Voyager 2
Discovery dateDecember 30, 1985
Uranus XV
Orbital characteristics
86,004.444 ± 0.064 km[3]
Eccentricity0.00012 ± 0.000061[3]
0.76183287 ± 0.000000014 d[3]
8.21 km/s[a]
Inclination0.31921 ± 0.021° (to Uranus's equator)[3]
Satellite ofUranus
Physical characteristics
Mean radius
81 ± 2 km[4]
~82,400 km2[a]
Volume~2,225,000 km3[a]
Mass~2.9 × 1018 kg[a]
Mean density
~1.3 g/cm3 (assumed)
0.028 m/s2[a]
0.069 km/s[a]
  • 0.11 ± 0.015 (geometric)
  • 0.035 ± 0.006 (Bond) at 0.55 μm[5]
Temperature~64 K[a]

Puck is an inner moon of Uranus. It was discovered in December 1985 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.[7] The name Puck follows the convention of naming Uranus's moons after characters from Shakespeare. The orbit of Puck lies between the rings of Uranus and the first of Uranus's large moons, Miranda. Puck is approximately spherical in shape and has diameter of about 162 km.[4] It has a dark, heavily cratered surface, which shows spectral signs of water ice.[8]

Discovery and naming[edit]

Puck—the largest inner moon of Uranus—was discovered from the images taken by Voyager 2 on 30 December 1985. It was given the temporary designation S/1985 U 1.[9]

The moon was later named after the character Puck who appears in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a little sprite who travels around the globe at night with the fairies. In Celtic mythology and English folklore, a Puck is a mischievous sprite, imagined as an evil demon by Christians.

It is also designated Uranus XV.[10]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Map of Puck

Puck is the largest small inner moon of Uranus, which orbits inside the orbit of Miranda. It is intermediate in size between Portia (the second-largest inner moon) and Miranda (the smallest of the five large classical moons). Puck's orbit is located between the rings of Uranus and Miranda. Little is known about Puck aside from its orbit,[3] radius of about 81 km,[4] and geometric albedo in visible light of approximately 0.11.[5]

Of the moons discovered by the Voyager 2 imaging team, only Puck was discovered early enough that the probe could be programmed to image it in some detail.[7] Images showed that Puck has a shape of a slightly prolate spheroid (ratio between axes is 0.97 ± 0.04).[4] Its surface is heavily cratered[6] and is grey in color.[4] There are three named craters on the surface of Puck, the largest being about 45 km in diameter.[7] Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and large terrestrial telescopes found water-ice absorption features in the spectrum of Puck.[5][8]

Nothing is known about the internal structure of Puck. It is probably made of a mixture of water ice with the dark material similar to that found in the rings.[8] This dark material is probably made of rocks or radiation-processed organics. The absence of craters with bright rays implies that Puck is not differentiated, meaning that ice and non-ice components have not separated from each other into a core and mantle.[7]

Named features[edit]

Puck has three craters named Bogle, Butz, and Lob and are named after mischievous spirits from Scottish, German, and British folklore, respectively. Details about these craters are currently unknown.

Named craters on Puck
Crater Coordinates Diameter (km) Approval date Named after Ref
Bogle 0°N 0°E / 0°N 0°E / 0; 0 (Bogle) 0 1988 Bogle (Celtic) WGPSN
Butz 0°N 0°E / 0°N 0°E / 0; 0 (Butz) 0 1988 Butz (German) WGPSN
Lob 0°N 0°E / 0°N 0°E / 0; 0 (Lob) 0 1988 Lob (English) WGPSN

See also[edit]


Explanatory notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Calculated on the basis of other parameters.


  1. ^ "Puck". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on March 2, 2020.
  2. ^ Sedgwick (1999) Shakespeare and the young writer
  3. ^ a b c d e Jacobson 1998.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Karkoschka, Voyager 2001.
  5. ^ a b c Karkoschka, Hubble 2001.
  6. ^ a b Thomas Veverka et al. 1987.
  7. ^ a b c d Smith Soderblom et al. 1986.
  8. ^ a b c Dumas Smith et al. 2003.
  9. ^ IAUC 4159.
  10. ^ USGS: Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers.


External links[edit]