Kiviuq (moon)

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Kiviuq imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in September 2000
Discovered byJ. J. Kavelaars et al.
Discovery date18 November 2000
Saturn XXIV
S/2000 S 5
AdjectivesKiviupian, Kiviuqian[2]
Orbital characteristics
Epoch 2000 Feb. 26.00[3]
11.111 Gm
449.22 d
(1.23 yr)
Satellite ofSaturn
GroupInuit group (Kiviuq)
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
21.97±0.16 h[4][5]
Albedo0.04[6] assumed
Spectral type

Kiviuq is a prograde irregular satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by J. J. Kavelaars[9] in 2000, and given the temporary designation S/2000 S 5.[10][11] It was named after Kiviuq, a hero of Inuit mythology.[12]

Kiviuq is about 16–17 km in diameter, and orbits Saturn at an average distance of 11.1 million kilometers in 450 days. It is a member of the Inuit group of irregular satellites. It is light red, and the Kiviupian (Kiviuqan)[2] infrared spectrum is very similar to the Inuit-group satellites Siarnaq and Paaliaq, supporting the thesis of a possible common origin of the Inuit group in the break-up of a larger body.[8][13]

Kiviuq is believed to be in Kozai resonance, cyclically reducing its orbital inclination while increasing the eccentricity and vice versa.[14] Its current orbital elements overlap strongly with Phoebe's orbit, and the moons will likely eventually collide with each other.[15]

The light curve amplitude of Kiviuq is large, varying in brightness by over 2 magnitudes. The large amplitude of Kiviuq suggests that it has an elongated shape, and may be a possible contact binary.[4]


On 30 August 2010, the ISS camera of the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft took light-curve data from a distance of 9.3 million km. With these data, the rotation period was measured to 21 hours and 49 minutes.[5]


  1. ^ Discovery Circumstances (JPL)
  2. ^ a b The genitive form of Kiviuq is Kiviup. Thus the adjectival form could be absolutive Kiviuqian or genitive Kiviupian, parallel to nominative Venusian and genitive Venerian for Venus. See Inuktitut morphology
  3. ^ Mean orbital parameters from JPL
  4. ^ a b c Denk, T.; Mottola, S. (2019). Cassini Observations of Saturn's Irregular Moons (PDF). 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Lunar and Planetary Institute.
  5. ^ a b T. Denk, S. Mottola, et al. (2011): Rotation Periods of Irregular Satellites of Saturn. EPSC/DPS conference 2011, Nantes (France), abstract 1452.
  6. ^ Scott Sheppard pages
  7. ^ Grav, T.; Holman, M. J.; Gladman, B. J.; Aksnes, K.; Photometric survey of the irregular satellites, Icarus, 166 (2003), pp. 33–45
  8. ^ a b c Grav, T.; and Bauer, J.; A deeper look at the colors of Saturnian irregular satellites
  9. ^ Kavelaars, J. J., et al. The discovery of faint irregular satellites of Uranus Icarus 169 (2004), 474.
  10. ^ IAUC 7521: S/2000 S 5, S/2000 S 6 November 18, 2000 (discovery)
  11. ^ MPEC 2000-Y14: S/2000 S 3, S/2000 S 4, S/2000 S 5, S/2000 S 6, S/2000 S 10 December 19, 2000 (discovery and ephemeris)
  12. ^ IAUC 8177: Satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus August 8, 2003 (naming the moon)
  13. ^ Gladman, B. J.; Nicholson, P. D.; Burns, J. A.; Kavelaars, J. J.; Marsden, B. G.; Holman, M. J.; Grav, T.; Hergenrother, C. W.; Petit, J.-M.; Jacobson, R. A.; and Gray, W. J.; Discovery of 12 satellites of Saturn exhibiting orbital clustering, Nature, 412 (July 12. 2001), pp. 163–166
  14. ^ Ćuk, M.; and Burns, J. A.; On the Secular Behavior of Irregular Satellites, The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 128 (2004), pp. 2518–2541
  15. ^ Denk, T.; Mottola, S.; Bottke, W. F.; Hamilton, D. P. (2018). "The Irregular Satellites of Saturn". Enceladus and the Icy Moons of Saturn (PDF). Vol. 322. University of Arizona Press. pp. 409–434. doi:10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816537075-ch020. ISBN 9780816537488.

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