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Cassini Continues Making New Saturn Discoveries

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Greatest Saturn Portrait ...Yet

NASA/JPL/Space Science Inst.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues making new and exciting discoveries. New findings include wandering and rubble-pile moons; new and clumpy Saturn rings; splintering storms and a dynamic magnetosphere. Weak, linear density waves caused in Saturn's rings by the small moons Atlas and Pan have yielded more reliable calculations of their masses. The masses imply the moons are very porous, perhaps constructed like rubble piles. They are similar to the moons that shepherd Saturn's F ring, Prometheus and Pandora. Another discovery was a tiny moon, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) across, recently named Polydeuces. Polydeuces is a companion, or "Trojan" moon of Dione. Trojan moons are found near gravitationally stable points ahead or behind a larger moon. Saturn is the only planet known to have moons with companion Trojan moons.

More: JPL - NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Continues Making New Saturn Discoveries

Link: USGS - Cassini Mission

Features on Saturn's Moon Phoebe Get Names

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Phobeian Explorers
Phoebian Explorers 1


The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has provisionally assigned names to craters on Saturn's moon Phoebe. These newly identified craters are named for the Argonauts, explorers of Greek mythology who sought the golden fleece. Argo was the name of their ship. Like many of the other moons of Saturn, Phoebe takes its name from the Titans of Greek mythology.

USGS Astrogeology maintains the official list of planetary feature names for the IAU, called the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. Additionally, we are active on several IAU working and task groups.

More: USGS Astro - Phoebe's Craters on the Official Gazeteer of Planetary Nomenclature view the complete list of craters and the origin of each name

Image: NASA/JPL - Phoebian Explorers 1 (PIA06117)

Image: NASA/JPL - Phoebian Explorers 2 (PIA06118)

Link: Wikipedia - Jason and the Argonauts