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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.
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Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Prometheus

Prometheus is a small moon of Saturn. It was discovered by S. Collins and others in 1980 from photos taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

This moon's name comes from Greek mythology. Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods of Mount Olympus and gave it to humankind. Zeus punished Prometheus for this deed. Prometheus was the son of Iapetus and the brother of Epimetheus and Atlas. Prometheus means "foresight" in Greek.

Prometheus and Pandora, 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.

Prometheus is not round, but is more of a "potato-shaped" moon. It is about 145 by 85 by 62 km (90 x 53 x 39 miles) in size. It orbits Saturn at a distance of 139,353 km (86,590 miles) from the planet's center.

Last modified June 4, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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