Curiosity Shop of Saturn’s Moons

This video is modeled in the classic tradition of P.T. Barnum, offering a collection of oddities for your viewing pleasure. So enter the Curiosity Shop for a compilation of facts and beautiful moon images taken by the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn since 2004, set to Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16 II. Adagio. This video is produced in honor of the recent Cassini Spacecraft Mission extension through September 2017.

Take a gander at Gigantic Titan to your left. Feel free to ogle bright Enceladus to your right, reflecting close to 100 percent of the light that hits its surface. Don’t be afraid to eyeball Mimas and her craters. That’s what she’s there for! Saturn has the second most moons of planets in the solar system. Second, only to Jupiter.

September 27th, 2010 marked the end of the Cassini Equinox Mission, which was over the last 2 years, and the beginning of the Cassini Solstice Mission. The extension to takes the spacecraft to September 2017, a couple months past Saturn’s Northern summer solstice in May 2017. Cassini has done a great deal to extend our knowledge of Saturn and it’s moons as well as delivered some of the most gorgeous photos taken in the Solar System; Photos of Saturn, Saturn’s rings and Saturn’s moons. This video pictures just a few of the many photos.

Fact Sheet:

Diameter: averages 396 km
Orbital Radius: 185,520 km
Orbital Period: 22 hours and 37 minutes
Mass: 37,500,000,000 megatonnes

Mimas and Rhea are widely considered the most heavily cratered bodies in the Solar System

Diameter: about 500 km
Orbital Radius: 238,020 kilometers
Orbital Period: 1.37 Days
Mass: 70,000,000,000 megatonnes

It is postulated that Enceladus is heated by a tidal mechanism similar to Jupiter’s moon Io and many signs point to a liquid core even though it should’ve frozen aeons ago.

It is the most reflective object in the solar system.

Diameter: 1,066 km
Orbital Radius: 294,660km
Orbital Period: 1.89 earth days
Mass: 627,000,000,000 megatonnes

Odysseus Crater (named for a Greek warrior king in Homer’s two great works, The Iliad and The Odyssey) dominates the Tethyan western hemisphere. Odysseus Crater is 400 kilometers in-diameter (almost 250 miles). That diameter is nearly two-fifths of Tethys itself.

Diameter: 1,123 km
Orbital Radius: 377,400 km
Orbital Period: 2.7 earth days
Mass: 1,100,000,000,000 megatonnes

Cassini showed Dione’s bright wisps to be bright canyon ice walls (some of them several hundred meters high), probably caused by subsidence cracking. The walls are bright because darker material falls off them, exposing bright water ice.

Diameter: 1,528 km
Average Distance: 527,040 km
Orbital Period: 4.52 Earth days
Mass: 2,310,000,000,000 megatonnes

Equatorial Radius: 2,575 km
Orbital Distance: 1,221,830 km
Orbital Period: 15.95 Earth days
Mass: 134,550,000,000,000 megatonnes

Recent results from the Cassini mission suggest that hydrogen and acetylene are depleted at the surface of Titan. Both results are still preliminary, but the findings are interesting for astrobiology. A paper published 5 years ago suggested that methane-based (rather than water-based) life — ie, organisms called methanogens — on Titan could consume hydrogen, acetylene, and ethane. The measured depletion of these compounds could mean the existence of these life forms on the surface.

Average diameter: 270 km
Mass: 800,000,000 megatonnes
Orbital Distance: 1,481,100 km
Orbital Period: 21.28 Earth days

Hyperion is the largest known irregular (nonspherical) body in the Solar System.

Equatorial Radius: 735.5 km
Orbital Distance: 3,561,300 km
Orbital Period: 79.33 Earth days
Mass: 1,600,000,000,000 megatonnes

The September 2007 Cassini flyby of Iapetus showed that thermal segregation is probably the most responsible for Iapetus having a darker hemisphere. Iapetus has a very slow rotation, longer than 79 days. Such a slow rotation means that the daily temperature cycle is very long, so long that the dark material can absorb heat from the Sun and warm up.

Diameter: 220 km
Orbital Distance: 12,952,000 km
Orbital Period: about 18 months
Mass: 400,000,000 megatonnes

Unlike most major moons orbiting Saturn, Phoebe is very dark and reflects only 6 percent of the sunlight it receives. Its darkness and irregular, retrograde orbit suggest Phoebe is most likely a captured object.

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