Pandora PIA07632.jpg

Pandora is a moon of Saturn. It was discovered in 1980 from photos taken by the Voyager 1 probe, and was designated 1980 S 26.[1] In 1985 it was officially named after Pandora from Greek mythology. It is also designated as Saturn XVII.[2]

Pandora is the outer shepherd satellite of the F Ring. It is more heavily cratered than nearby Prometheus, and has at least two large craters 30 km in diameter.

From its very low density and relatively high albedo, it seems likely that Pandora is a very porous icy body. There is a lot of uncertainty in these values, however, so this remains to be confirmed.

The orbit of Pandora appears to be chaotic, as a consequence of a mean motion resonance with Prometheus. The most appreciable changes in their orbits occur approximately every 6.2 years [3], when the periapsis of Pandora lines up with the apoapsis of Prometheus and the moons approach to within about 1400 km. Pandora also has a 3:2 mean-motion resonance with Mimas [3].


  1. Smith, B. A. (October 31, 1980). IAU Circular No. 3532. Retrieved on 2006-08-07.
  2. Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers. Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology (July 21, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-08-07.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Spitale06

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