Pandora, as imaged by Cassini
|Discovered by||Collins, Voyager 1|
|Discovery date||October, 1980|
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch December 31, 2003 (JD 2453005.5)|
|Semi-major axis||141,720 ± 10 km|
|Orbital period||0.628504213 d|
|Inclination||0.050 ± 0.004° to Saturn's equator|
|Dimensions||104×81×64 km |
|Mean radius||40.7 ± 1.5 km |
|Mass||1.371 ± 0.019 ×1017 kg |
|Mean density||0.49 ± 0.06 g/cm³ |
|Equatorial surface gravity||0.0026–0.0060 m/s² |
|Escape velocity||~0.019 km/s|
Pandora (// pan-DOHR-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.
Pandora is the outer shepherd satellite of the F Ring. It is more heavily cratered than nearby Prometheus, and has at least two large craters 30 kilometres (19 mi) in diameter. 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.
Voyager 2 image of Pandora (August 1981).
Cassini captured this close view of Saturn's moon Pandora during the spacecraft's flyby on June 3, 2010.
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- 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". 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". 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.
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