This image shows three of Saturn's small moons and a portion of its rings (left). The two shepherd moons, Prometheus and Pandora, guide particles in the F ring into a narrow band. Another small moon, Epimetheus, can be seen in the upper right corner of the image. This image was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on May 1, 2004 when Cassini was 31.4 million km (19.5 million miles) from Saturn.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
Pandora is a small moon of Saturn. It was discovered by S. Collins and others
in 1980 from photos taken by the Voyager
Pandora's name comes from Greek mythology. Pandora was the first woman, and
was given to humankind by Zeus as a punishment (oh those wacky ancient Greeks!)
for Prometheus' theft of fire from the gods. Pandora was given a box that contained
all of the evils that could plague people. Out of curiosity she opened it,
thus releasing all of humanity's ills into the world. Pandora's tale is not
a happy one! She was also the wife of Epimetheus.
Pandora and Prometheus, another small moon of Saturn, are known as shepherd
satellites. These two small moons orbit within Saturn's
vast ring system. Like shepherds guiding their flocks of sheep, these two
moons guide the particles of Saturn's
"F ring" into a narrow band. The combined gravitational pulls
of the two moons force the ring particles to orbit within a narrow range.
Pandora is not round, but is more of a "potato-shaped" moon. It is about 110
by 84 by 62 km (68 x 52 x 39 miles) in size. It orbits Saturn at a distance
of 141,700 km (88,048 miles) from the planet's center.
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