Pandora (// pan-DOR-ə; Greek: Πανδώρα) is an inner satellite of Saturn. It was discovered in 1980 from photos taken by the Voyager 1 probe, and was provisionally designated S/1980 S 26. In late 1985 it was officially named after Pandora from Greek mythology. It is also designated as Saturn XVII.
View of Pandora's western hemisphere.[a]
|Discovered by||Collins, Voyager 1|
|Discovery date||October, 1980|
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch December 31, 2003 (JD 2453005.5)|
|Inclination||0.050°±0.004° to Saturn's equator|
|Dimensions||104 × 81 × 64 km |
|40.7±1.5 km |
|Volume||≈ 280000 km3|
|0.0026–0.0060 m/s2 |
|≈ 0.019 km/s|
|Temperature||≈ 78 K|
Pandora was thought to be an outer shepherd satellite of the F Ring. However, recent studies indicate that it does not play such a role, and that only Prometheus, the inner shepherd, contributes to the confinement of the narrow ring. It is more heavily cratered than nearby Prometheus, and has at least two large craters 30 kilometres (19 mi) in diameter. The majority of craters on Pandora are shallow as a result of being filled with debris. Ridges and grooves are also present on moon's surface.
The orbit of Pandora appears to be chaotic, as a consequence of a series of four 118:121 mean-motion resonances with Prometheus. The most appreciable changes in their orbits occur approximately every 6.2 years, when the periapsis of Pandora lines up with the apoapsis of Prometheus and the moons approach to within about 1,400 kilometres (870 mi). Pandora also has a 3:2 mean-motion resonance with Mimas.
From its very low density and relatively high albedo, it seems likely that Pandora is a very porous icy body. There is a lot of uncertainty in these values, however, so this remains to be confirmed.
- This view was taken by Cassini, during the spacecraft's close flyby on December 18, 2016. The image was taken from a distance of 40,500 kilometres (25,200 miles); the closest approach by the spacecraft during its 14-year tenure in the Saturn system.
- Spitale Jacobson et al. 2006.
- Thomas 2010.
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- USGS: Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers.
- Lakdawalla, E. (2014-07-05). "On the masses and motions of mini-moons: Pandora's not a "shepherd," but Prometheus still is". Planetary Society. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
- Cuzzi, J. N.; Whizin, A. D.; Hogan, R. C.; Dobrovolskis, A. R.; Dones, L.; Showalter, M. R.; Colwell, J. E.; Scargle, J. D. (April 2014). "Saturn's F Ring core: Calm in the midst of chaos". Icarus. 232: 157–175. Bibcode:2014Icar..232..157C. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2013.12.027. ISSN 0019-1035.
- Solar System, NASA: Pandora.
- Renner et al. 2005.
- Marsden, Brian G. (October 31, 1980). "Satellites of Saturn" (discovery). IAU Circular. 3532. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- Marsden, Brian G. (January 3, 1986). "Satellites of Saturn and Pluto" (naming the moon). IAU Circular. 4157. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- Renner, Stéfan F.; Sicardy, Bruno; French, Richard G. (March 2005). "Prometheus and Pandora: Masses and orbital positions during the Cassini tour". Icarus. 174 (1): 230–240. Bibcode:2005Icar..174..230R. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2004.09.005.
- "Saturn: Moons: Pandora". Solar System Exploration: Planets. NASA. 4 Apr 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- Spitale, J. N.; Jacobson, R. A.; Porco, C. C.; Owen, W. M., Jr. (2006). "The orbits of Saturn's small satellites derived from combined historic and Cassini imaging observations" (PDF). The Astronomical Journal. 132 (2): 692–710. Bibcode:2006AJ....132..692S. doi:10.1086/505206.
- Thomas, P. C. (July 2010). "Sizes, shapes, and derived properties of the saturnian satellites after the Cassini nominal mission" (PDF). Icarus. 208 (1): 395–401. Bibcode:2010Icar..208..395T. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.01.025.
- USGS/IAU (July 21, 2006). "Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology. Retrieved 2011-12-29.