A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Phoebe

Ymir, Suttung, Thrym, Mundilfari, Narvi, Tarvos, Siarnaq, Erriapo, Albiorix, Skadi, Paaliaq, Ijiraq, Kiviuq, and 12 more unnamed…

In the outer reaches of the Saturnian system lie at least 26 tiny moons. 25 of these remain faint lights in the sky, 12 of which were announced in May 2005. When Cassini-Huygens entered the Saturnian system in June 2004, it passed by and photographed the other outer moon, Phoebe…

A world previously seen only as a blurry blob taken by the distant Voyager 2 in 1981 resolved in the span of just a few days into a fantastic cratered object with towering cliffs of water ice mostly covered by very dark material. Phoebe became the first object Cassini-Huygens would flyby as it entered the Saturnian system in June 2004.

Did Phoebe form with the inner moons of Saturn during the formation of the system? Probably not. Scientists now believe that Phoebe was somehow captured during an ill-fated incursion from the outer solar system’s Kuiper Belt into the Saturnian system.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).

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