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Daphnis (moon)

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Daphnis (moon)

Daphnis in cropped Cassini probe image (July 06, 2010).
Discovered by Cassini Imaging Science Team
Discovery date May 6, 2005
Adjectives Daphnidian
Orbital characteristics[1]
Mean orbit radius
136505.5±0.1 km
Eccentricity 0.0000331±0.0000062
0.5940798 d (14.257915 h)
Inclination 0.0036°±0.0013°
Satellite of Saturn
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 8.6 × 8.2 × 6.4 km[2]
Mean radius
3.8±0.8 km[2]
Mass (7.7±1.5)×1013 kg[2]
Mean density
0.34±0.26 g/cm³[2]
0.0001–0.0004 m/s2[2]
Albedo ≈ 0.5
Temperature ≈ 78 K

Daphnis ( ; Greek: Δάφνις) is an inner satellite of Saturn. It is also known as Saturn XXXV; its provisional designation was S/2005 S 1.[3][4] Daphnis is about 8 kilometres in diameter, and orbits the planet in the Keeler Gap within the A ring.


  • Naming 1
  • Discovery 2
  • Orbit 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The moon was named in 2006 after Daphnis, a shepherd, pipes player, and pastoral poet in Greek mythology;[5] he was descendant of the Titans, after whom the largest moons of Saturn are named. Both Daphnis and Pan, the only other known shepherd moon to orbit within Saturn's main rings, are named for mythological figures associated with shepherds.

The waves that Daphnis induces nearby in the A ring have vertical relief (due to its orbital inclination) and cast shadows when Saturn is close to its equinox.
Daphnis was resolved into a disc for the first time in this 2005 Cassini probe image[6]


Before it was photographed, the existence of a moon in Daphnis's position had already been inferred from gravitational ripples observed on the outer edge of the Keeler gap. The waves made by the moon in the inner edge of the gap precede it in orbit, while those on the outer edge lag behind it, due to the differences in relative orbital speed.

Daphnis was discovered by the Cassini Imaging Science Team on May 6, 2005.[3] The discovery images were taken by the Cassini probe over 16 min on May 1, 2005, from a time-lapse sequence of 0.180 second narrow-angle-camera exposures of the outer edge of the A ring. The moon was subsequently found in 32 low-phase images taken of the F ring on April 13, 2005 (spanning 18 min) and again in two high-resolution (3.54 km/pixel) low-phase images taken on May 2, 2005, when its 7 km disk was resolved.


The inclination and eccentricity of Daphnis's orbit are very small, but distinguishable from zero. Daphnis's eccentricity causes its distance from Saturn to vary by ~9 km, and its inclination causes it to move up and down by ~17 km. The Keeler Gap, within which Daphnis orbits, is about 42 km wide.


  1. ^ Jacobson, R. A.; Spitale, J.; et al. (2008). "Revised orbits of Saturn's small inner satellites".  
  2. ^ a b c d e Thomas, P. C. (July 2010). "Sizes, shapes, and derived properties of the saturnian satellites after the Cassini nominal mission" (PDF). Icarus 208 (1): 395–401.  
  3. ^ a b S/2005 S 1C.C. Porco, et al., IAUC 8524: May 6, 2005 (discovery)
  4. ^ Martinez, C.; and Dyches, P.; Cassini Finds New Saturn Moon That Makes WavesCassini-Huygens: May 10, 2005
  5. ^ Saturn XXXV (Daphnis)IAUC 8730: (naming the moon)
  6. ^ NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute, "Wavemaker Moon" (2005-05-10)

External links

  • Discovery images of Daphnis at the CICLOPS web site (includes a movie of the moon's ripple effect)
  • Rody P.S. Oldenhuis; Jochgem C.T. Gunnemann (2005-12-21). "Estimating the Density of Saturn's Moon Daphnis via its Shepherding Effect on Nearby Rings" (PDF). Earth and Planetary Observation letters 1. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  • Photos of Daphnis from the CICLOPS web site
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