Stargazing At Saturns Moons 

When I was young we learned that Saturn's moons numbered nine and Jupiter's 12. Now we know that both have over 60 and some are still being discovered.

These eight Saturn satellites were found by direct telescope observation. You can see them as well with the right equipment, such as the  

Orion XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope & Beginner Barlow Kit

time and good seeing conditions.

The 9th moon Phoebe was the first moon discovered by astrophotography. W. H. Pickering found it in 1899.

John Herschel, son of William, suggested the names of the first 7 moons in 1847.

He thought of the brothers and sisters of the Greek god Kronus(the Roman Saturn). They were known as the Titans. Descended from Gaia and Uranus they ruled during the Golden Age of mythology.


saturns moon Rhea

Apparent Magnitude: 10

Orbit Time: 4.5 days

Discovered: 12/23/1672 by Giovanni Cassini

Rhea is the 2nd largest moon of Saturn and the 9th largest in the solar system.


saturns moon Titan

Apparent Magnitude: varies between 8.2-9.0

Orbit Time: 16 days

Discovered: 3/25/1655 by Christiaan Huygens

Titan is the largest of Saturn's moons and the 2nd largest in the solar system behind Ganymede of Jupiter.

Both Titan and Ganymede are larger than the planet Mercury.

Visible in large binoculars(10x50) and small backyard scopes. Huygens found it in a 2.2in(57mm) telescope.

About as bright as Neptune, Titan can be seen despite the interfering glare from Saturn.

Titan has a dense nitrogen atmosphere and surface liquid. Earth is the only other body with definite liquid on the surface.

Hyperion-the smallest of the regular moons, is locked with Titan in a 3:4 orbital resonance.


saturns moon Iapetus

Apparent Magnitude: varies 10.2-11.9

Orbit Time: 79 days

Discovered: 10/25/1671 by Giovanni Cassini

The third largest of Saturn's many natural satellites and the 11th largest in the solar system.

Iapetus is amazing in its color scheme.

Almost completely black on the side that faces the planet and bright white on the far side.

This is caused by dust particles from the rings and other moons as Iapetus orbits Saturn.


Apparent Magnitude: 14

Orbit Time: 21 days

Discovered: 9/16/1848 by W. C. Bond, G. P. Bond and William Lassell

Hyperion has an irregular shape and a chaotic rotation.

It was the first moon found that wasn't round. Only Proteus, a moon of Neptune, is larger and not rounded by gravity.

Only moon with a chaotic rotational axis and it is the only regular moon not tidally locked to the planet. This is thought to be caused by the gravitational pull of Titan.

saturns moons to PG1

› Saturn's moons
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