CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Sixty for Saturn
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The sixtieth moon of Saturn reveals itself in a sequence of images. The discovery suggests that the new moon, along with its neighbors Methone and Pallene (discovered by the Cassini Imaging Team in 2004), may form part of a larger group of moons in this region. The movie spans a total of 6 hours.

Initial calculations show the moon to have a width of approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), with an orbit that lies between those of Methone and Pallene. The moon's orbit is in resonance with Mimas, also seen in this sequence as a very bright, moving object. The new moon’s location is indicated by a red box.

The (narrow) ring visible in the images is the G ring, and the G ring arc passes through the field of view during the course of the movie. Calypso, a Trojan moon of Tethys, is also visible in the sequence.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 3 degrees above the ringplane.

The series of images was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 30, 2007, at a distance of approximately 1.76 million kilometers (1.09 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is about 105 kilometers (65 miles) per pixel. The ghostly shape that stretches across the scene results from scattered light within the camera optics.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: July 19, 2007 (PIA 08369)
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  Sixty for Saturn
PIA 08369

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Sixty for Saturn
PIA 08369

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Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jul 15, 2008 at 2:15 PM):
Welcome, smstowm! Glad to see you've joined the Alliance, and hope you enjoy visiting. Be sure to tell your friends about us too.
smstowm (Jul 13, 2008 at 4:13 PM):
Wow, I've just signed up and I wanna to say that is a greatful resource because I'm very interesting in astonomy and such on! So, great, great, thanks!!! :)
Red_dragon (Jul 25, 2007 at 8:54 AM):
"I bet Carolyn won't be happy until there are 64 of them"

Me too :)

By the way, the larguest moons of Saturn would give perhaps even more spectacular views than Saturn itself. I'll have to modify the Celestia's solar system file to enter the new moon's parameters to see the results, but imagine how would look their conjunctions, close approachs, etc. between them as they're so near one of the other.
Andrzej Karon (Jul 21, 2007 at 10:17 AM):
Famous "Moon hunters" from Hawaii discovering small remote moons of Saturn (impossible to see by Cassini's cameras), but Cassini discovering small close moons of Saturn (impossible to see from the Earth).

They replenish in moon hunting very perfectly! :)
Andrzej Karon (Jul 21, 2007 at 9:41 AM):
Some other interesting facts about S/2007 S4...
===============================================

I can't found at the Web any information about visual brightness of S/2007 S4, but from estimation of diameter, albedo and brightness of neigbouring moons: Methone & Pallene - I thinking so S/2004 S4 has only a. +26.0 mag of visual brightness (= 100 million times fainter than the faintest stars visible to naked eye).
For comparison: Saturn's brightness (at opposition) is about 0.7 mag, so S/2007 S4 is shining fainter by about 25.3 mag. The corresponding difference in brightness is over 13 billion times!


This moon is in elliptical prograde orbit (eccentricity e = 0.0010) with a semimajor axis a = 197,700 km. At pericenter (closest to the planet) S/2007 S4 is separated from the Saturn a distance of q = 197,502 km. At apocenter (furthest from the planet) this moon is separated from the Saturn a distance of Q = 197,898 km.

Angular diameter of the Saturn's disc as observed from this moon is over 35 degrees! (or 70 The Moon's discs). Maximum brightness of the planet as observed from S/2007 S4 is -18.4 mag!
Whereas, this moon as observed near the planet (Saturn hasn't solid surface), has only 3 arcsec od diameter and +7.0 mag of brightness. Future astronauts from this place, can't see this moon! :)

And last interesting fact. These three little moons: Methone, S/2007 S4 and Pallene they have similar rotation periods - quite over 1 earthy day. Therefore the closest approach of S/2007 S4 and Pallene is possible every 10,3 days (i.e. synodic period of these moons), but the closest approach of Methone and S/2007 S4 is more rarely: only every 41,1 days!

BTW: The absolute record holders of the lenght of synodic period are Epimetheus and Janus (over 1400 days or almost 4 years!)

Yours Sincerely
Andrzej Karon
http://ksiezyce.republika.pl/index_en.html
DEChengst (Jul 19, 2007 at 12:51 PM):
I bet Carolyn won't be happy until there are 64 of them.

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