Calypso (Saturn XIV)
A satellite of Saturn discovered in 1980 on the images taken by Voyager 1. It shares the same orbit as Telesto and Tethys at a distance of 294,660 km and turns around the planet with a period of 1.888 days. It is 34 x 22 x 22 km in size.
In Greek mythology, Calypso was a sea nymph and the daughter of the Titan Atlas.
Dione (Saturn IV)
The fourth largest moon of Saturn and the second densest after Titan. Its diameter is 1,120 km and its orbit 377,400 km from Saturn. It is composed primarily of water ice but must have a considerable fraction of denser material like silicate rock.
Discovered in 1684 by Jean-Dominique Cassini, Italian born French astronomer (1625-1712). In Gk. mythology Dione was the mother of Aphrodite (Venus) by Zeus (Jupiter).
Enceladus (Saturn II)
The eighth of → Saturn's known → satellites, discovered by Herschel in 1789. It is about 500 km in diameter and orbits Saturn at a mean distance of 238,000 km with a period of 1.37 days. Enceladus has the highest → albedo (> 0.9) of any body in the → Solar System. Its surface is dominated by clean ice. Geophysical data from the → Cassini-Huygens spacecraft imply the presence of a global → ocean below an ice shell with an average thickness of 20-25 km, thinning to just 1-5 km over the south polar region. There, → jets of → water vapor and icy grains are launched through fissures in the → ice. The composition of the ejected material measured by Cassini includes salts and silica dust. In order to explain these observations, an abnormally high heat power is required, about 100 times more than is expected to be generated by the natural → decay of → radioactive elements in rocks in its core, as well as a means of focusing activity at the south pole. According to simulations, the core is made of unconsolidated, easily deformable, porous rock that water can easily permeate. The → tidal friction from Saturn is thought to be at the origin of the eruptions deforming the icy shell by push-pull motions as the moon follows an elliptical path around the giant planet. But the energy produced by tidal friction in the ice, by itself, would be too weak to counterbalance the heat loss seen from the ocean; the globe would freeze within 30 million years. More than 10 GW of heat can be generated by tidal friction inside the rocky core. Water transport in the tidally heated permeable core results in hot narrow upwellings with temperatures exceeding 90 °C, characterized by powerful (1-5 GW) hotspots at the seafloor, particularly at the south pole. The release of heat in narrow regions favors intense interaction between water and rock, and the transport of hydrothermal products from the core to the plume sources (Choblet et al., 2017, Nature Astronomy, doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0289-8)
In Gk. mythology Enceladus was a Titan who battled Athene in their war against the gods. When he fled the battlefield, Athene crushed him beneath the Sicilian Mount Etna.
Enkelâdos, from the original Gk. pronunciation of the name.
Hyperion (Saturn VII)
The sixteenth of → Saturn's known → natural satellites. It is shaped like a potato with dimensions of 410 x 260 x 220 km and has a bizarre porous, sponge-like appearance. Many of the sponge holes or craters have bright walls, which suggests an abundance of → water → ice. The crater floors are mostly the areas of the lowest → albedo and greatest red coloration. This may be because the average temperature of roughly -180 °C might be close enough to a temperature that would cause → volatiles to → sublimate, leaving the darker materials accumulated on the crater floors. Hyperion is one of the largest bodies in the → Solar System known to be so irregular. Its density is so low that it might house a vast system of caverns inside. Hyperion rotates chaotically and revolves around Saturn at a mean distance of 1,481,100 km. It was discovered by two astronomers independently in 1848, the American William C. Bond (1789-1859) and the British William Lassell (1799-1880).
Hyperion, in Gk. mythology was the Titan god of light, one of the sons of Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth), and the father of the lights of heaven, Eos the Dawn, Helios the Sun, and Selene the Moon.
The sixth → planet from the Sun and the second largest with an equatorial diameter of 120,536 km orbiting at an average distance of 1,429,400,000 km (9.54 → astronomical units) from Sun. With an → eccentricity of 0.05555, its distance from the Sun ranges from 1.35 billion km (9.024 AU) at its → perihelion to 1.509 billion km (10.086 AU) at its → aphelion. Its average orbital speed being 9.69 km/s, it takes Saturn 29.457 Earth years (or 10,759 Earth days) to complete a single revolution around the Sun. However, Saturn also takes just over 10 and a half hours (10 hours 33 minutes) to rotate once on its axis. This means that a single year on Saturn lasts about 24,491 Saturnian solar days. Saturn has a mass of 5.6836 × 1026 kg (95.159 → Earth masses) and a mean density of 0.687 g cm-3. Like Jupiter, Saturn is about 75% → hydrogen and 25% → helium with traces of → water, → methane, and → ammonia, similar to the composition of the primordial Solar Nebula from which the solar system was formed. The temperature on Saturn is ~ -185 °C. Like Jupiter, Saturn has a solid core of iron-nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds). The core has an estimated mass of 9-22 Earth Masses and a diameter of about 25,000 km (about 2 Earth diameter). The core is enveloped by a liquid → metallic hydrogen layer and a → molecular hydrogen layer. Saturn's interior is hot (12,000 K at the core). The planet radiates more energy into space than it receives from the Sun. Most of the extra energy is generated by the → Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism as in Jupiter. Saturn has 62 known satellites. → Saturn's ring. On 1 July 2004 NASA/ESA's → Cassini-Huygens became the first to orbit Saturn, beginning a 13 year mission that revealed many secrets and surprises about Saturn and its system of rings and moons.
O.E. Sætern "Italic god," also "most remote planet" (then known), from L. Saturnus, Italic god of agriculture, possibly from Etruscan.
Keyvân Mid.Pers. Kêwân, borrowed from Aramean kâwân, from Assyrian kaiamânu.
Fr.: nébuleuse Saturne
A planetary nebula in the Aquarius constellation discovered by William Herschel in 1782. It has a size of about 0.3 x 0.2 light-years and lies about 1400 light-years away. Also known as NGC 7009.
→ Saturn, such named by Lord Rosse in the 1840s, because the object has a vague resemblance to the planet Saturn in low-resolution telescopes; → nebula.
halqehâ-ye Keyvân (#)
Fr.: anneaux de Saturne
A system of rings around Saturn made up of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometers to meters, that orbit the planet. The ring particles are made almost entirely of → water ice, with some contamination from → dust and other chemicals. The ring system is divided into six major components: D, C, B, A, F, and G rings, listed from inside to outside. But in reality, these major divisions are subdivided into thousands of individual → ringlets. The large gap between the A and B rings is called the Cassini division. Saturn's rings are extraordinarily thin: though they are 250,000 km or more in diameter, they are less than one kilometer thick. → A ring, → B ring, → C ring, → D ring, → F ring, → G ring.