Thursday, December 22, 2016

How big is little Pandora?

The Cassini probe, currently conducting its final mission phase around Saturn, caught another picture of one of Saturn's little moons, this one named Pandora.  If you go to the press release, there's another link to an earlier picture of Pandora that Cassini captured.  Below the link is the newer picture.

Pandora Up Close

I've heard of Pandora before, but never really considered its size.  Obviously it's not as big as Titan or Iapetus or Enceladus, or the smaller class that includes Rhea, Tethys, and Mimas.  According to Wikipedia, it's 104 x 81 x 64 km (and those numbers come from a paper about Saturn's moons).  So it has a volume of around 270,000 cubic km.

By comparison, Phobos, the larger moon of Mars, is 27 x 22 x 18 km.  Those dimensions translate to a volume of 5783 cubic km.

So Pandora is not quite 50x larger than Phobos, by volume.  And Pandora is one of the little moons of Saturn.   When it comes to gas giant planets, the scale is bigger.

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