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Puck (moon)

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Discovered byStephen P. Synnott / Voyager 2
Discovery timeDecember 30, 1985
Avgdistance from the center of its orbital path86,004.444 ± 0.064 km[1]
How egg-shaped its orbit is
0.00012 ± 0.000061[1]
How long it takes to complete an orbit0.76183287 ± 0.000000014 d[1]
Angle above the reference plane
0.31921 ± 0.021° (to Uranus' equator)[1]
What it orbitsUranus
Size and Other Qualities
Average distance from its center to its surface81 ± 2 km[2]
Area of its surface~82,400 km²[3]
Volume inside it~2,225,000 km³[3]
Mass~2.9×1018 kg[3]
Average density~1.3 g/cm³ (assumed)
Gravity at its surface0.028 m/s2[3]
Slowest speed able to escape into space
("escape velocity")
0.069 km/s [3]
How long it takes to turn around one timesynchronous[2]
Angle at which it turns
(in relation to its orbit)
How much light it reflects0.11 ± 0.1 (at 0.55 μm)[4]
Avg. surface temp.~64 K[3]
Seeming brightness
("apparent magnitude")
20.2 [5]

Puck is a closer moon to Uranus. Puck was found from the images taken by Voyager 2 on December 30, 1985, and was given the designation S/1985 U 1.[6]

In Celtic mythology and English folklore, a Puck is a mischievous sprite, imagined as an evil demon by Christians; the moon is named after the Puck who appears in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he travels around the globe at night with the fairies. It is also designated Uranus XV.[7]

Puck is the biggest of the small closer moons to Uranus. It is in the middle in size between Portia and Miranda, the smallest of the five bigger moons. Puck's orbit is also located between these two moons. Little is known about it aside from its orbit,[1] its radius about 81 km,[2] and its geometric albedo approximately 0.11.[4]

Of the moons found by the Voyager 2 imaging team, only Puck was found early enough that the probe could be programmed to take pictures of it in some detail. Images showed that Puck has a shape of a slightly prolate spheroid (ratio between axises is 0.97 ± 0.04).[2] Its surface is heavily cratered[8] and is grey in color.[2] There are three named craters on the surface of Puck. Observations with Hubble Space Telescope and large terrestrial telescopes found water ice absorption features in the spectrum of Puck.[4][9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jacobson, R.A. (1998). "The Orbits of the Inner Uranian Satellites From Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager2 Observations". The Astronomical Journal 115: 1195-1199. doi:10.1086/300263 .
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Karkoschka, Erich (2001). "Voyager's Eleventh Discovery of a Satellite of Uranus and Photometry and the First Size Measurements of Nine Satellites". Icarus 151: 69–77. doi:10.1006/icar.2001.6597 .
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Calculated on the basis of other parameters
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Karkoschka, Erich (2001). "Comprehensive Photometry of the Rings and 16 Satellites of Uranus with the Hubble Space Telescope". Icarus 151: 51–68. doi:10.1006/icar.2001.6596 .
  5. "Puck Statistics". Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  6. Smith, B.; Hansen, C. (January 16 1986). "IAU Circular No. 4159". Retrieved 2006-08-06.
  7. "Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology. July 21 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-06.
  8. Thomas, P. (1987). "Voyager observations of 1985U1". Icarus 72: 79-83. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(87)90121-7 .
  9. Dumas, Christophe (2003). "Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS Multiband Photometry of Proteus and Puck". Astronomical Journal 126: 1080–1085. doi:10.1086/375909 .

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