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Saturn
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Saturn Summary

Saturn

Saturn Moon: Phoebe!

Voyager 2 took these images of Saturn's outer satellite Phoebe,on Sept. 4, 1981, from 2.2 million kilometers away. This pair shows two different hemispheres of the satellite.


Phoebe was discovered by William Henry Pickering in 1898. It orbits opposite direction of most other satellites - it is the only one of the moons that orbits with retrograde motion, i.e., opposite to that of the planet's rotation. Phoebe also has a low albedo. It has a rapid rotation: one Phoebe day is only 9 Earth hours long. The satellite is thought to be an object similar to an asteroid captured by Saturn's gravitational field. The material of Phoebe is very primitive, thought to be as old as the material that first formed the solar system. However the origin of Phoebe is probably on the outskirts of the solar system that found ts way into the orbit of Saturn. Phoebe also could play a role in supplying Iapetus the dark, wispy material found on its surface.


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