Home Universe 15 Aegaeon Facts – The Smallest Moon of Saturn

15 Aegaeon Facts – The Smallest Moon of Saturn

by Sankalan Baidya
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interesting aegaeon facts - saturn's smallest moon

Saturn – that’s an incredible planet because of many reasons. One such reason is that it can literally float on water if we manage to put it in water though! But there is much more that will keep you amazed. In case you want to learn about Saturn facts, here is the direct link where you can find what you are looking for.

Now, did you know that Saturn is known for its large number of moon? There are 150 of those (including moons and moonlets) out of which 62 have been confirmed. Of those that are confirmed, Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and is the second largest moon is entire solar system. What to learn about Titan in details? Click HERE, HERE and HERE. Now the question that normally arises is that if we say “largest moon of Saturn” then there must be one that is the smallest, right? Hell yes! There is one moon of Saturn which takes the crown of being the smallest. In this article, we are going to learn about that moon.

Wondering what it is called? Well, you already know it from the title of this article. The moon is called Aegaeon. So, let us waste time no further and learn some incredible Aegaeon facts. But before we start, we will like to tell you one thing. This moon called Aegaeon is really small and it is very unlikely to expect that NASA will go to great lengths to study this moon is great details. So, the number of facts you encounter here will be few, really few.

Let’s start…

Interesting Aegaeon Facts: 1-5

1. NASA says that Aegaeon is the smallest known moon Saturn has so far. Which means, this title may be stripped off from Aegaeon if another smaller satellite catches the attention of astronomers.

2. Aegaeon is embedded in Saturn’s G Ring. In case you didn’t know, Saturn doesn’t have a single ring. There are several rings actually. They are mentioned below in the order they were discovered:

  • D Ring
  • C Ring
  • B Ring
  • A Ring
  • F Ring
  • Janus / Epimetheus Ring
  • G Ring
  • Methone Ring Arc
  • Anthe Ring Arc
  • Pallene Ring
  • E Ring
  • Phoebe Ring

3. Because Aegaeon is embedded in G Ring of Saturn, it actually interacts with the dust particles in the ring. NASA astronomers have studied how Aegaeon interacts with these dust particles and they have made a stunning discovery.

aegaeon in g ring - smallest moon of saturn facts

Three image sequence captured by Cassini probe within a span of 10 minutes. Showing Aegaeon travelling across bright arc of G Ring, which is Saturn’s one of the faintest rings.

4. The scientists have found that Aegaeon’s density is nearly 50% the density of water ice. Now, we know that water ice is bright. So, we should be naturally inclined to think that Aegaeon is also bright. The problem is that the opposite is true. Aegaeon is incredibly dark.

5. Not just dark, Aegaeon also holds the record of being the least reflective Saturnian moon among moons that are located ahead of Titan.

Interesting Aegaeon Facts: 6-10

6. Aegaeon travels around Saturn at quite an incredible speed. The time taken by this moon to complete one rotation is merely 0.808 Earth days (that is, less than 1 day on Earth).

7. The average distance that Aegaeon maintains from its mother planet is 167,500 kilometers or 104,080 miles.

8. Aegaeon’s orbit turns out to be nearly perfectly circular. This conclusion was reached by NASA after measuring the inclination the moon’s orbit has with the equator of Saturn. This inclination turns out to be 0.001 degree.

9. Along with this, the eccentricity of the moon’s orbit has been calculated to be 0 (Zero). This also helped NASA to conclude that the moon Aegaeon’s orbit is nearly circular.

10. What about the shape of the moon itself? It has the shape of a football (we are referring to American football and not soccer). This means that the shape of the moon is elongated.

Interesting Aegaeon Facts: 11-15

11. So, what are the measurements of this moon? Simply put, how big is the moon? Actually, it is very small. According to NASA, the size of the moon cannot be calculated directly because it is way to small to be resolved by cameras of the Cassini probe.

12. So, the astronomers of NASA resorted to indirect measurement techniques by comparing the brightness of the moon with the brightness of another small moon of Saturn – the Pallene.

13. Though NASA doesn’t quite directly give the exact measurements, the organization does say that mean radius of the moon is 0.12 kilometers or 0.2 miles. According to Wikipedia, the measurements of the moon are: 1.4 x 0.5 x 0.4 km.

14. The catalog name that was assigned to Aegaeon was S/2008 S1. The name was later changed to Aegaeon (a fierce giant with many arms and heads which helped in defeating Titans).

15. Aegaeon was discovered in 2008 by Cassini probe. The imaging took place on August 15, 2008. However, prior to that, 2 more images were taken. Only after the third image was taken, the presence of the moon was confirmed by finding the moon in previously taken images as well.

Sources: 1, 2

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