Tarvos (moon)

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Discovered byB. J. Gladman, J. J. Kavelaars,
R. L. Allen, T. Rigg,
C. W. Hergenrother, S. M. Larson,
A. Doressoundiram and J. Romon[1][2]
Discovery dateSeptember 23, 2000
S/2000 S 4, Saturn XXI
Orbital characteristics[4]
Epoch 2000 Feb. 26.00
926.2 d
(2.63 yr)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions15 km[5]
Albedo0.04[5] assumed
Spectral type
light red
B−V=0.0.77, R−V=0.57[6]

Tarvos (/ˈtɑːrvs/ TAR-vəs), or Saturn XXI, is a prograde irregular satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by John J. Kavelaars et al. on September 23, 2000, and given the temporary designation S/2000 S 4. The name, given in August 2003, is after Tarvos, a deity depicted as a bull god carrying three cranes alongside its back from Gaulish mythology.[7]

Tarvos orbits Saturn at an average distance of 18 million km in 926 days and is about 15 km in diameter (assuming an albedo of 0.04). It has the most eccentric orbit around Saturn.[4]

It is a member of the Gallic group of irregular satellites.

With a similar orbit and displaying a similar light-red colour, Tarvos is thought to have its origin in the break-up of a common progenitor[6][8] or to be a fragment of Albiorix.[9]


  1. ^ IAUC 7513: S/2000 S 3 and S/2000 S 4 October 25, 2000 (discovery)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Discovery Circumstances (JPL)
  4. ^ a b c Jacobson, R.A. (2007) SAT270, SAT271 (2007-06-28). "Planetary Satellite Mean Orbital Parameters". JPL/NASA. Retrieved 2008-01-19.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b Scott Sheppard. "Saturn's Known Satellites". Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
  6. ^ a b Grav, Tommy; Holman, Matthew J.; Gladman, Brett J.; Aksnes, Kaare; Photometric survey of the irregular satellites, Icarus, 166 (2003), pp. 33–45
  7. ^ IAUC 8177: Satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus August 8, 2003 (naming the moon)
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Grav, Tommy; and Bauer, J.; A deeper look at the colors of Saturnian irregular satellites

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