Monday, May 6, 2013

One of Saturn's menagerie of moons

Saturn has a lot of strange moons, leading off with Titan and following up with Iapetus.  And the little moons are weird too, including the shepherd moon that leaves a gravity wake in the rings, in case you didn't believe in gravity.

Today's subject is Epimetheus, which shares an orbit with another moon, Janus, and was thought to be Janus for awhile until observers figured out exactly that, which is that Epimetheus shares an orbit with Janus.  If you want to know how that works, look it up (or go here). 

Meanwhile, Epimetheus is also one of those astronomical bodies so small that it doesn't have enough gravity to mold itself into a spheroid, so it kinda looks like a wedge.


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