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Ijiraq (ee'-yə-raak or ee'-jə-raak, IPA /ˈiːjərɑk/, /ˈiːdʒərɑk/) is a prograde irregular satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by the team of John J. Kavelaars, et al. in 2000, and given the temporary designation S/2000 S 6. It is also designated as Saturn XXII. It is now named after the Ijiraq, a creature of Inuit mythology.
Ijiraq is about 10 kilometres in diameter, and orbits Saturn at an average distance of 11,372 Mm in 452.760 days, at an inclination of 50° to the ecliptic (31° to Saturn's equator), and with an eccentricity of 0.343. It is a member of the Inuit group of irregular satellites.
Kavelaars, an astronomer at McMaster University, suggested this name to help astronomical nomenclature to get out of its Greco-Romano-Renaissance rut. He spent several months trying to find names that were both multi-cultural and Canadian, consulting Amerindian scholars without finding a name that seemed appropriate. In March 2001, he was reading an Inuit tale to his children and had a revelation. The ijiraq plays at hide-and-seek, which is what these small moons of Saturn do: they are hard to find, and cold like the Canadian arctic (the team of discoverers includes Canadians, Norwegians and Icelanders — Nordicity is their common trait). Kavelaars contacted the author of the tale, Michael Kusugak, to get his assent, and the latter also suggested the names for Kiviuq and 90377 Sedna.
|edit Saturn's natural satellites|
|Pan | Daphnis | Atlas | Prometheus | S/2004 S 6 | S/2004 S 4 | S/2004 S 3 | Pandora | Epimetheus and Janus|
|Mimas | Methone | Pallene | Enceladus | Telesto, Tethys, and Calypso | Polydeuces, Dione, and Helene | Rhea|
|Titan | Hyperion | Iapetus | Kiviuq | Ijiraq | Phoebe | Paaliaq | Skathi | Albiorix | S/2004 S 11 | Erriapo | Siarnaq|
|S/2004 S 13 | Tarvos | Mundilfari | S/2004 S 17 | Narvi | S/2004 S 15 | S/2004 S 10 | Suttungr | S/2004 S 12|
|S/2004 S 18 | S/2004 S 9 | S/2004 S 14 | S/2004 S 7 | Thrymr | S/2004 S 16 | Ymir | S/2004 S 8|
|See also: Pronunciation key | Rings of Saturn | Cassini-Huygens | Themis|