S/2004 S 3

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S/2004 S 3
Discovery image of S/2004 S 3
Discovery image of S/2004 S 3
Discovered by CICLOPS Team [1]
Discovery date June 21, 2004
Orbital characteristics[2][3][4]
140,100–140,600 km
Eccentricity  < 0.002 [a]
0.62 d
Inclination close to zero
Satellite of Saturn
Physical characteristics
Mean radius
1.5–2.5 km
probably synchronous
Albedo unknown

S/2004 S 3 is the provisional designation of an object seen orbiting Saturn just beyond the outer strand of the F ring on June 21, 2004. It was discovered by the Cassini Imaging Science Team in images taken by the Cassini–Huygens probe on June 21, 2004[4] and announced on September 9, 2004.[5]

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.[2]

Another object, S/2004 S 4, was sighted nearby 5 hours later, but this time just inside the F Ring. Because of the differing localisation the second object was given a fresh designation, although their interpretation as a single object on a F-ring crossing orbit is also possible.[5] 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 3 would be 3–5 km in diameter based on brightness, and might be a shepherd satellite for the outer edge of Saturn's F ring.



  1. ^ Based on above semimajor axis range, and Spitale Jacobson et al. 2006



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