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Puck (moon)

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Puck as imaged by Voyager 2 on January 1986. The image is centered on Puck's south pole. Despite the low resolution, several craters have been identified, including Bogle on the upper right
Discovered byStephen P. Synnott / Voyager 2
Discovery dateDecember 30, 1985
Uranus XV
Orbital characteristics[4]
86004.444±0.064 km
0.76183287±0.000000014 d
8.21 km/s[a]
Inclination0.31921°±0.021° (to Uranus's equator)
Satellite ofUranus
Physical characteristics
Dimensions162 × 162 × 162 km[5][b]
81±2 km[5]
82000 km2[a]
Volume2226100±7.8% km3[6]
Mass(1.91±0.64)×1018 kg[7]
Mean density
~0.858 g/cm3[a]
~0.019 m/s2[a]
~0.056 km/s[a]
  • 0.11±0.015 (geometric)
  • 0.035±0.006 (Bond) at 0.55 μm[8]
Temperature~65 K[a]

Puck the sixth-largest moon of Uranus. It was discovered in December 1985 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.[1] 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.[5] It has a dark, heavily cratered surface, which shows spectral signs of water ice.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Map of Puck

Puck is the largest inner moon of Uranus, orbiting inside the orbit of Miranda. It is intermediate in size between Portia (the second-largest inner moon) and Miranda (the smallest of the five major moons). Puck's orbit is located between the rings of Uranus and Miranda. Little is known about Puck aside from its orbit,[4] radius of about 81 km,[5] and geometric albedo in visible light of approximately 0.11.[8]

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.[1] Images showed that Puck has a shape of a slightly prolate spheroid (ratio between axes is 0.93–1).[5] Its surface is heavily cratered[9] and is grey in color.[5] There are three named craters on the surface of Puck, the largest being about 45 km in diameter.[1] Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and large terrestrial telescopes found water-ice absorption features in the spectrum of Puck.[8][10]

Little is known about the internal structure of Puck. It is probably made of a mixture of water ice, and may have been collisionally disrupted and reaccreted as a rubble pile.[13] Its surface is coated with a dark material similar to that found in the main rings,[10] The dark material is probably made of rocks or radiation-processed organics; it is possible that material spiralling inwards from Uranus's μ ring coats Puck's leading hemisphere as well.[13] 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.[1]

Named features[edit]

Puck has three craters named Bogle, Butz, and Lob, which 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 ~47 km[13] 1988 Bogle (Celtic) WGPSN
Butz 1988 Butz (German) WGPSN
Lob 1988 Lob (English) WGPSN

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Calculated on the basis of other parameters.
  2. ^ Only two dimensions are known; the third dimension has been assumed to equal the other two.



  1. ^ a b c d e Smith Soderblom et al. 1986.
  2. ^ "Puck". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on March 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Sedgwick (1999) Shakespeare and the young writer
  4. ^ a b Jacobson 1998.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Karkoschka, Voyager 2001.
  6. ^ a b French et al. 2024.
  7. ^ Jacobson (2023), as cited in French et al. (2024)[6]
  8. ^ a b c Karkoschka, Hubble 2001.
  9. ^ a b Thomas Veverka et al. 1987.
  10. ^ a b c Dumas Smith et al. 2003.
  11. ^ IAUC 4159.
  12. ^ USGS: Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers.
  13. ^ a b c Cartwright et al. 2021.


External links[edit]