The Little Ice Queen

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Helene (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute photo)

On June 18, 2011, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn’s small moon, the icy Helene.

Saturn and its principal moons, the largest one being Titan.

With an average radius about 9 times larger than the Earth’s, Saturn is the 6th planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus (the Titan father of Zeus), the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani.

Saturn has 9 rings, consisting mostly of ice particles with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. 62 known moons orbit the planet, not counting hundreds of “moonlets” within the rings.

Helene is a small moon of Saturn, discovered in 1980 from ground-based observations at Pic du Midi Observatory. In 1988 it was officially named after Helen of Troy, who was the granddaughter of Cronus (Saturn) in Greek mythology.

Helene is tiny, with a mean radius of only 10.94 miles (17.6 km)!

H/t beloved fellow Igor.

~Eowyn

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One response to “The Little Ice Queen

  1. Rocky!

     

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