This picture shows the surface of Phoebe. There are many large craters on Phoebe's surface. The picture was taken by the Cassini spacecraft in 2004.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
Phoebe is the name of a medium-sized moon of
An American astronomer named William Henry Pickering discovered Phoebe in 1898.
The name "Phoebe" comes from Greek mythology. In the Greek myths,
Phoebe was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia and
the grandmother of Apollo and Artemis.
Phoebe has a diameter of 220 km (137 miles). It is the ninth largest of
moons. The surface of Phoebe is very dark. That is strange. Most of Saturn's
moons have bright surfaces. Its dark surface isn't the only strange thing about
Phoebe's orbit around Saturn is also odd. Phoebe orbits much further from
Saturn than any of the other medium-sized
moons. Also, Phoebe orbits backwards! It moves around Saturn in the opposite
direction of most of the other moons.
Why is Phoebe so strange? Many astronomers think Phoebe used to be an asteroid or Kuiper
Belt Object. They think Saturn's strong gravity captured Phoebe sometime
Astronomers want to learn more about Phoebe. Right now, our only pictures
of Phoebe are very fuzzy. They were made by Voyager
2 in 1981. Soon we should have much better pictures! The Cassini
spacecraft will fly very close past Phoebe on June 11, 2004.
You might also be interested in:
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leto (Letona). He was the twin brother of the goddess Artemis. He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and...more
Saturn has // Call the moon count function defined in the document head print_moon_count('saturn'); moons. Many of those are tiny chunks of rock or ice only a few kilometers (miles) across. One of Saturn's...more
The rare arrangement of planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in the 1980's made it possible for the Voyager spacecrafts to visit them over a 12 year span instead of the normal 30. They used gravity...more
A spacecraft named Cassini will study the planet Saturn for several years. Cassini blasted off from Earth in October 1997. After flying past Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, Cassini finally arrived at Saturn...more
The Cassini spacecraft is on its way to Saturn. It will zoom close past a strange moon of Saturn named Phoebe. Cassini's close flyby of Phoebe will be on June 11, 2004. The best pictures we have right...more
The Phoebe Ring is one of the rings around the planet Saturn. The Phoebe Ring is much bigger than Saturn's other rings. It is about 100 times larger than the main ring system. Saturn's moon Phoebe orbits...more
Many people like Saturn's rings. Although Saturn isn't the only planet with rings, it is the only planet famous for them. Almost every image or drawing of the planet has the rings included. But few people...more