News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

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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