The moons of Saturn are a very interesting topic to research. Before beginning this amazing journey on the moons, first we must do a brief overview of the planet Saturn. Saturn is the sixth largest planet from the sun; it is very large and does not have very much water. This research paper will explore the different moons, the names, atmosphere, similarities and sizes of the moons. Saturn has 62 moons that have been discovered but only 52 have been given an official name while the others still are waiting to have specific information found out about them to give them a name. Only 18 moons have been officially sanctioned by the International Astronomical Union. The names of the moons come from characters in Greek and Roman mythology. The moons are made up of about 30 to 40 percent rock and about 60 to 70 percent water. The Saturn Moons so diversity in many area, let’s explore their differences. Since there are too many to name we will discuss the more poplar moons. Pan- Named after the Greek God of the wild, it is about 20km in diameter and its mass is 11x 10 15th lbs. Saturn is at a distance of 83,000 miles and has an orbital period around Saturn is 13.8 hours. Pan was discovered in 1990 by the Voyager team. A Pan orbit within the Encke Gap which is located in the Saturn’s A ring. The Encke Gap is a space in the A ring that helps Pan to orbit around Saturn.
Helene- named after Greek goddess Helene popularly known as Helene of Troy and the name means torch. Helene’s moon is an irregular shape in body and is measured about36 x 32 x 30 km in diameter. The moon orbits Saturn at 234,500 in distance and its mass is 8x 10by 17. The surface materials are composed of particularly dark and organic rich mater and condense ices. Helene was discovered by P. Laques and J. Leacheus in the year 1990. Dione- Named after Greek goddess Dione and the mother for Aphrodite she was describe as a temple associate. Dione is about 1,118km is diameter and has a density of 1.43gm/cm the rest is ice. The temperature is extremely cold and the distance from Saturn is 377,400 km, and includes crater area that measure about 100 km in diameter. Dione was discovered in 1684 by Giovanni Cassini. Rhea- Named after the god of fruitfulness the mother of Poseidon. Rhea is far away from and the second largest moon of Saturn. It is 1,528 km in size, its distance from the sun is 527,040 and it mass is2.31 x 10 sub 21 kg. Rhea’s temperature is cold like Dione and only one side of its surface faces Saturn. The surface of Rhea is a mixture of ice and rock similar to a frozen dirty snowball.
Dione was discovered in 1672 by Giovanni Cassini. Mimas- Named after the Greek god giant of war. It looks like a bull’s eye by viewing in space. The surface of is covered with impact craters due to shock waves that happens on the moon which measure is size of about 40 kg . It is also very low in density and is composed of mostly water with small amounts of rock. The distance from Saturn is 185,520km, the period of orbit around Saturn is 22.6 hrs and its mass is 3.81 x 10 sub 19kg. The temperature of Mimas is minus 344 degrees Fahrenheit. It was discovered by Williams Herschel in 1789. Enceladus- Named the god that was responsible for tremors and volcanoes, and he was considered the leader of the giants. Distance from the Saturn is 237,378 km, about 512 x 494×489 km in diameter, its mass id 1.2 x 10 sub 20 kg. The period Encelasus orbit around Saturn is 32.8 hours. It is also covered in water ice and is about -330 degrees Fahrenheit. It also reflects the sunlight. It was discovered by Williams Herschel in 1789. Titan- Named after group Greek gods who ruled the cosmos.
Titan is largest of the Saturn’s moon and is the most Earthlike of its kind; it looks a lot like a frozen version of the plant earth. The surface is very cold; it has a temperature of -290 degrees Fahrenheit and has a thick atmosphere but does not hold gravity well. Titan’s atmosphere has an altitude 10 times higher than or nearly 600 km into space as oppose to the earth. According to a space expedition in 1980 by the Voyager 1Titan showed to only have air pressure of one and a half at sea level and four times as dense of the earth. Titan has chemical readings is mostly gas about 95% nitrogen and 5% methane, which are two chemicals that are present in earth’s surface. Nitrogen help produces this thick smog like cloud that can hold water and produces rain. With the help of methane which is a gas allows the cloud s rain to produce or rain down liquids similar to gasoline. Titan orbits Saturn 1.2 million km or 745,000 miles it take16 days to make complete circle. The radius is 2,575 km and 112 km in diameter.
The Greek mythology of how the naming group of Titans , hence thus the naming of the moons came about, the Titans devoured the limbs of Dionysus, the son of Zeus (the god of thunder and war) was intended to have dominion over the world. Zeus was so angry he struck the titans with lighting and the fire burned them to ashes. The moons of Saturn are too numerous to number, just like the story of the Titans. They all have their own characteristics, this paper only names a few, here are the rest: Aegean, Aegir, Albiorix, Anthe, Benhionn, Bergeimir, Calypso, Dapjnis, Epimetheus, Erriapus, Farbauti, Fenrir, Fornjot, Greip, Hati, Hyperion, Hyrrokkin, Lapetus, Lijraq, Janus, Jamsaxa, Kari, Kiviug, Loge, Methone, Mundifari, Narvi, Paaliaq, Pallene, Phoebe, Polydueces, Siamaq, Skadi, Skoll, Suttung, Tarqeq, Telesto, Tethys, Thrym, Ymir. The names of these moons will continue to grow as new moons are discovered.
The moons will begin the naming process which astronomer gives each moon a temporary name that will follow this format S/2011-S1. The first S stands for Saturn and the second S after the stands for its satellite or location in space. Then the names are assigning by the International Astronomical Union. In conclusion, with the study of the moons of Saturn we learned that some range very large in size. We also learned the amount of time it takes each moon s to orbit Saturn. The time varies amongst the moon of Saturn. The all of the temperature each of the moons are too cold for human life to be sustained, and the surfaces of each one of the moons are somewhat similar; with the exception of the moon Titan. During the study of the Titan moons the discovery of the similarities between the planet Earth and Titan’s atmosphere. The naming of the moons came from Greek mythology and the history of the Greek gods were interesting the in its own way. Finally, scientists are still discovering new moons in Saturn’s atmosphere, as of today there are only 53 moons officially named; who knows how many more are lurking out there.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2011 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Pan-ast.html Hatzitsinidou, Evangelia. (2005-2011). Greek-Gods.Info Gods and Goddess of Ancient Greece. October 26,2011, http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-mythology/a.php
Munsell,Kirk. (2011). Cassini Solstice Misson. November 23, 2011, http://www.jpl.nasa.gov./science/mooms