Thursday, July 21, 2005

New Helene Image: Helene from Afar

CICLOPS' daily release today is this processed view of Saturn's moon Helene. Helene is another small trojan moon, like yesterday's daily release Telesto, but instead of being a trojan of Tethys, Helene is a trojan moon of Dione. Helene orbits at the same distance from Saturn as Dione, but 60 degrees ahead in the orbit, at the L4 Lagrange Point. This image has still too low of resolution to show surface features, but the overall shape of the moon can be seen. This image has a resolution of 5 km/pixel but has been magnified by three times to aid visibility.


Anonymous Michael Adams said...

One question I've wondered about for years is why do Tethys and Dione have Langrangian orbital companions and not Titan? Why not the Galilean moons (at least Ganymeded and Callisto) or Triton?

7/21/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I am not an expert on this by any means, so take this with a grain of salt, but at least for the Galilean satellites, I would imagine that gravitational interactions with the other Galilean satellites would prevent the L4 and L5 points from being a stable place for a small satellite. Not sure about Titan and Triton though...

7/21/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous BorekL said...

"but instead of being a trojan of Tethys, Helene is a trojan moon of Tethys"

Are you sure about this sentence?

7/24/2005 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

D'oh! Thanks for catching that. Fixed.

7/24/2005 07:01:00 PM  

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