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50 Years Ago

Saturn’s 10th moon was the first satellite discovered in the modern space age

Excerpt from the January 14, 1967, issue of Science News

By
10:00am, January 5, 2017
Janus

SCORES OF SATELLITES  Janus, about 181 kilometers in diameter, was imaged in front of Saturn in 2006 by the Cassini spacecraft. The moon is one of at least 62 that circle the ringed planet.

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Science News. Vol. 91, January 14, 1967Tenth moon of Saturn

The first natural satellite in the solar system to be discovered since artificial satellites were launched has been found circling Saturn. Dr. Audouin Dollfus of the Observatory of Physical Astronomy at Meudon, France, spotted Saturn’s tenth satellite on three photographs taken in mid-December when the planet’s rings were seen edge-on from earth. — Science News, January 14, 1967

UPDATE:

Saturn’s 10th moon, officially named Janus in 1983, was the first satellite of the ringed planet discovered in the 20th century. It shares an orbit with the moon Epimetheus, seen days after Janus’ discovery, although no one realized they were separate entities until 1978. Saturn actually hosts at least 62 moons, a diverse bunch, as revealed by the Cassini spacecraft. Water erupts from Enceladus, Hyperion is blanketed with bizarre terrain resembling a sponge from afar and methane lakes dot Titan’s surface. Cassini, in orbit since 2004, will end its mission in September by plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere (SN: 11/12/16, p. 10).

Citations

Tenth moon of Saturn. Science News. Vol. 91, January 14, 1967, pg. 33.

Further Reading

C. Crockett. Experts don’t agree on age of Saturn’s rings. Science News. Vol. 190, November 12, 2016, p. 10.

A. Witze. Year in review: Global ocean spans Enceladus. Science News. Vol. 188, December 26, 2015, p. 23.

C. Crockett. Mighty winds fuel megastorms on Titan. Science News. Vol. 188, December 12, 2015, p. 14.

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