S/2006 S 20

← back to Outer Saturnian Moons

S/2006 S 20 is ∼4 kilometers in size and one of the small Irregular moons of Saturn. Its discovery has been announced in May 2023. Its mean distance to Saturn is ∼13¼ million kilometers, with one revolution around the planet on a retrograde orbit requiring 1 year, 6 months and 2¾ weeks.

This is the shortest orbit period and smallest mean distance of all known 100 retrograde moons of Saturn except big Phoebe which revolves Saturn from a slightly closer range. Besides the mean distance to Saturn, the orbit inclination of S/2006 S 20 (173°) is also very similar to Phoebe’s (175°). Therefore, it appears very likely that this object is a chip blown off Phoebe a long time ago.

With similar orbit elements, the two objects have close encounters from time to time. Closest approach within several centuries will be on 12 Aug 2048 when S/2006 S 20 will pass Phoebe at a distance of just 345600 km.

This object has not been named yet. We made no attempt to observe it with Cassini because it was unknown at the time Cassini was active. Note that the orbital elements in the MPEC announcement are current values, not mean elements (time-averaged over a few thousand years) as given for the pre-2023 announced objects.

Last update: 04 Jul 2023 — page content is best displayed on a screen at least 1024 pixels wide

© Tilmann Denk (2023)