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Sycorax (moon) facts for kids

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Discovered by Philip D. Nicholson,
Brett J. Gladman,
Joseph A. Burns,
John J. Kavelaars
Discovery date September 6, 1997
Orbital characteristics
Mean orbit radius
12,179,000 km
Eccentricity 0.5224
1288.28 d
Inclination 159° (to the ecliptic)
Satellite of Uranus
Physical characteristics
Mean radius
12,179,000 km
~70,000 km² (estimate)
Volume ~1,800,000 km³ (estimate)
Mass ~5.4×1018 kg (estimate)
Mean density
~1.5 g/cm³ (estimate)
~0.040 m/s2 (estimate)
~0.087 km/s (estimate)
Albedo 0.04 (assumed)

Sycorax is one of Uranus' moons. It is the biggest retrograde non-spherical one of its moons.

Sycorax was found on September 6, 1997 by Brett J. Gladman, Philip D. Nicholson, Joseph A. Burns, and John J. Kavelaars. They found it using the 200-inch Hale telescope. They also found Caliban. Sycorax was given the designation S/1997 U 2.

Sycorax was confirmed as Uranus XVII. It was named after Sycorax, Caliban's mother in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.


TheIrregulars URANUS retro
Retrograde irregular satellites of Uranus.

Sycorax follows a far orbit, more than 20 times farther from Uranus than the farthest regular moon Oberon. Its orbit is retrograde, moderately inclined and eccentric.

The orbital parameters suggest that it may belong, together with Setebos and Prospero, to the same dynamic cluster, suggesting common origin.

The diagram illustrates the orbital parameters of the retrograde non-spherical moons of Uranus (in polar co-ordinates) with the eccentricity of the orbits represented by the segments extending from the pericentre to the apocentre.

Physical characteristics

The diameter of Sycorax is estimated at 150 km (assuming albedo of 0.04) making it the biggest non-spherical moon of Uranus, comparable in size with Himalia, the biggest non-spherical moon of Jupiter.

The rotation period could not be estimated well (best fit ~4 h).

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Sycorax (moon) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.