Prometheus image from Cassini (December 26, 2009)
|Discovered by||Collins, Voyager 1|
|Discovery date||October, 1980|
|Adjectives||Promethean, -ian //|
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch 31 December 2003 (JD 2453005.5)|
|Inclination||0.008°±0.004° to Saturn's equator|
|Group||Inner shepherd moon of the F Ring|
|Dimensions||135.6 × 79.4 × 59.4 km |
|43.1±2.7 km |
|Volume||≈ 340000 km3 |
|Mass||(1.595±0.015)×1017 kg |
|0.48±0.09 g/cm³ |
|0.0013–0.0058 m/s² |
|≈ 0.019 km/s|
|Temperature||≈ 74 K|
Prometheus is extremely elongated, measuring approximately 136 km × 79 km × 59 km (85 mi × 49 mi × 37 mi). It has several ridges and valleys and a number of impact craters of about 20 km (12 mi) diameter are visible, but it is less cratered than nearby Pandora, Epimetheus, and Janus. From its very low density and relatively high albedo, it is likely that Prometheus is a very porous icy body. There is much uncertainty in these values, however, and so this remains to be confirmed.
Interactions with F Ring and other moons
Prometheus is a shepherd satellite for the inner edge of Saturn's narrow F Ring. Pandora orbits just outside the F Ring, and has traditionally been viewed as an outer shepherd of the ring; however, recent studies indicate that only Prometheus contributes to the confinement of the ring.
Images from the Cassini probe show that the Promethean gravitational field creates kinks and knots in the F Ring as it 'steals' material from it. The orbit of Prometheus appears to be chaotic, due to a series of four 121:118 mean-motion resonances with Pandora. The most appreciable changes in their orbits occur approximately every 6.2 years, when the periapsis of Pandora lines up with the apoapsis of Prometheus, when they approach to within approximately 1400 km. Prometheus is itself a significant perturber of Atlas, with which it is in a 53:54 mean-longitude resonance.
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- Renner, Stéfan F.; Sicardy, Bruno; French, Richard G. (March 2005). "Prometheus and Pandora: Masses and orbital positions during the Cassini tour". Icarus. 174 (1): 230–240. Bibcode:2005Icar..174..230R. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2004.09.005.
- Spitale, J. N.; Jacobson, R. A.; Porco, C. C.; Owen, W. M., Jr. (2006). "The orbits of Saturn's small satellites derived from combined historic and Cassini imaging observations". The Astronomical Journal. 132 (2): 692–710. Bibcode:2006AJ....132..692S. doi:10.1086/505206.
- 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. Bibcode:2010Icar..208..395T. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2010.01.025.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- USGS/IAU (July 21, 2006). "Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
Media related to Prometheus (moon) at Wikimedia Commons
- "Cassini–Huygens: Multimedia-Videos / Soft Collision". NASA. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
Prometheus slowly collides with the diffuse inner edge of Saturn's F ring ... pulls a streamer of material from the ring and leaves behind a dark channel.
- Prometheus Profile at NASA's Solar System Exploration site
- The Planetary Society: Prometheus
- 3-D anaglyph view of Prometheus