View Full Version : Discussion: New Moon for Saturn Makes Waves ...

2005-May-11, 04:58 PM
SUMMARY: Cassini has confirmed the discovery of a previously unseen moon tucked in a gap in Saturn's A ring. The moon, provisionally called S/2005 S1 for now, is only 7 km (4 miles) across, and orbits within the Keeler gap. Even though it's so small, you can clearly see the effect of its gravity on the nearby ring edge, which has distinctive waves along its edge. The is the second moon ever discovered within Saturn's rings. The first, Pan, is 25 km (16 miles) across and orbits within the Encke gap. All the other moons are outside the ring system.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/new_moon_saturn_waves.html)

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2005-May-11, 05:14 PM
This "moon" is noteworthy for its small size.

How small can an object be and still be classified as a "moon"?

With kind regards,


2005-May-11, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by om@umr.edu@May 11 2005, 05:14 PM
How small can an object be and still be classified as a "moon"?

That is a good question. As it is, this object may be larger than Mars' moon Deimos, but the question remains, is an orbiting 5 gram pebble a moon? I suspect the answer is that we will eventually constrain our language, but that for now, the pebble would be called a moon. Lucky thing we haven't discovered any, so the issue is still philosophical with no precident to follow.

2005-May-11, 09:16 PM
Do we know if this can be called a "sheppard moon" that keeps the rings in order, or is this a dumb question? Are all the moons that are this close to the rings sheppard moons just by their nature of being a greater source of gravity acting on anything in the vicinity?