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Farbauti: Overview
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Farbauti is a member of the Norse group of moons, which orbit Saturn at mean distances ranging from 12 to 24 million km, at inclinations between 136° and 176° from the plane of Saturn's equator, and with eccentricities between 0.12 and 0.77. (A satellite's eccentricity is a number between 0 and 1 which describes the shape of the orbit. The closer to 0, the more circular it is; the closer to 1, the more elongated.)

The Norse moons all have retrograde orbits (they travel around Saturn in the opposite direction from the planet's rotation). That and their deviations from circular orbits and from the plane of Saturn's equator classify them as "irregular" satellites. Like Saturn's other irregular moons, they are thought to be objects that were captured by Saturn's gravity, rather than having accreted from the dusty disk that surrounded the newly formed planet as the regular satellites are thought to have done.

Unlike the Gallic and Inuit groups of Saturn's moons, the wide range of distances, inclinations and eccentricities among moons in the Norse group suggest that they are not the pieces of a single original object that shattered in a collision, but they may be the pieces of several such "original" objects. Farbauti appears to be a member of a subgroup that also includes Skoll, Hyrrokkin, S/2006 S1, Bergelmir, Skathi, S/2006 S3, and Kari.

Farbauti has a mean radius of about 2.5 km, assuming an albedo of 0.04. It orbits Saturn at an inclination of about 158° and an eccentricity of about 0.2. At a mean distance of 20.4 million km from Saturn, the satellite takes about 1087 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Discovery:
Farbauti was discovered on 12 December 2004, one of 12 Saturnian moons found that day by Scott S. Sheppard, David C. Jewitt and Jan T. Kleyna, using wide-field camera on the Subaru 8.3-m reflector telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Brian Marsden computed the orbital elements.

How Farbauti Got its Name:
Originally called S/2004 S9, Farbauti was named for a giant in Norse mythology who was the father of Loki, who was known as the disgrace of the gods.

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  12,667,894 miles
Mean Radius:  1.6 miles
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Last Updated: 17 Mar 2011