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Galatea: Overview
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Fuzzy image of Galatea and a faint ring arc.
A Voyager 2 image showing newly-discovered Galatea (then designated S/1989 N 4) and ring arcs orbiting Neptune.

Galatea is another of Neptune's tiny moons. Small and irregularly-shaped like Despina, Galatea orbits in the same direction as Neptune and is relatively close to the gas giant's equatorial plane. The small moon's gravity is believed to cause disturbances in Neptune's ring system. It was found in the same month scientists discovered ring arcs, or partial rings, that were suspected to exist around Neptune.

Galatea circles Neptune every 10 hours and 18 minutes.

Discovery:
Galatea was discovered in July 1989 by the Voyager 2 science team.

How Galatea Got its Name:
Moons of Neptune are named for characters from Greek or Roman mythology associated with Neptune or Poseidon, or the oceans. Irregular satellites are named for the Nereids, daughters of Nereus and Doris and the attendants of Neptune.

Galatea was a sea nymph who attended to Poseidon (the Roman god Neptune). The nymphs are also known as the Nereids. The moon was originally designated S/1989 N 4.

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  38,496 miles
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Last Updated: 12 Aug 2013