S/2006 S 9

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S/2006 S 9 is ∼2¾ kilometers in size and thus among the smallest known Irregular moons of Saturn. Its discovery has been announced in May 2023 joint with sixty-one other outer Saturnian moons. Its mean distance to Saturn is ∼14½ million kilometers, with one revolution around the planet on a retrograde orbit requiring 1 year, 9 months and 1½ weeks.

This is (after S/2006 S 20) the second shortest orbit period and second smallest mean distance of all known 100 retrograde moons of Saturn except big Phoebe which revolves Saturn from an even closer range. The orbit inclination of S/2006 S 9 (174°) is very similar to Phoebe’s (175°). Therefore, it may well be that this object is a chip blown off Phoebe a very long time ago.

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: 23 May 2023 — page content is best displayed on a screen at least 1024 pixels wide

© Tilmann Denk (2023)