S/2004 S 4

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S/2004 S 4
Discovery
Discovered by CICLOPS Team [1][2]
Discovery date June 21, 2004
Orbital characteristics[3]
~140,100 km
Eccentricity unknown, small
~0.618 d
Inclination unknown, small
Satellite of Saturn
Physical characteristics
Mean radius
1.5–2.5 km
probably synchronous
unknown
Albedo unknown

S/2004 S 4 is the provisional designation of an unconfirmed object seen orbiting Saturn within the inner strand of the F ring on June 21, 2004. It was spotted while J. N. Spitale was trying to confirm the orbit of another provisional object, S/2004 S 3 that was seen 5 hours earlier just exterior to the F ring.[2] The announcement was made on September 9, 2004.[4]

Despite later attempts to recover it, it has not been reliably sighted since. Notably, an imaging sequence covering an entire orbital period at 4 km resolution taken on November 15, 2004 failed to recover the object. This suggests that it was a temporary clump of material that had disappeared by that time.[5]

An interpretation where S3 and S4 are or were a single object on a F-ring crossing orbit is also possible.[4] Such an object might also be orbiting at a slightly different inclination to the F ring, thereby not actually passing through the ring material despite being seen both radially inward and outward of it.

If a solid object after all, S/2004 S 4 would be 3–5 km in diameter based on brightness.

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