Saturn's Gallic group of satellites
The Gallic group is a dynamical grouping of the prograde irregular satellites of Saturn following similar orbits. Their semi-major axes range between 16 and 19 Gm, their inclinations between 35° and 40°, and their eccentricities around 0.53.
Similar mean orbital elements led the discoverers to postulate a common origin for the group in a breakup of a larger body.
The diagram illustrates the Gallic group in relation to other irregular satellites of Saturn. The eccentricity of the orbits is represented by the yellow segments (extending from the pericentre to the apocentre) with the inclination represented on Y axis.
The four members of the group are (in order of increasing distance from Saturn):
Remarkably, recent observations revealed that the largest member of the group, Albiorix, displays actually two different colours: one compatible with Erriapus and Tarvos, and another less red. Instead of the common progenitor, it was postulated that Tarvos and Erriapus could be fragments of Albiorix, leaving a large, less red crater. Such an impact would require a body with the diameter in excess of 1 km and relative velocity close to 5 km/s, resulting in a large crater with the radius of 12 km. Numerous, very large craters observed on Phoebe, prove the existence of such collisions in the Saturnian system's past.
- Gladman, B. J.; Nicholson, P.; Burns, J. A.; Kavelaars, J. J.; Marsden, B. G.; Holman, M. J.; Grav, T.; et al. (2001). "Discovery of 12 satellites of Saturn exhibiting orbital clustering". Nature 412 (412): 163–6. doi:10.1038/35084032. PMID 11449267.
- Grav, Tommy; Holman, Matthew J.; Gladman, Brett J.; Aksnes, Kaare (2003). "Photometric survey of the irregular satellites". Icarus 166: 33–45. arXiv:astro-ph/0301016. Bibcode:2003Icar..166...33G. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2003.07.005.
- Grav, Tommy; Holman, Matthew J (2004). "Near-Infrared Photometry of the Irregular Satellites of Jupiter and Saturn". The Astrophysical Journal 605: L141–L144. arXiv:astro-ph/0312571. Bibcode:2004ApJ...605L.141G. doi:10.1086/420881.
- Grav, Tommy; and Bauer, James; A deeper look at the colors of Saturnian irregular satellites, Preprint