National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Planets
Mundilfari: Overview
   Back to Saturn   Overview   Facts & Figures   News 
No Image Available Tag
Contact us if you have an image of this moon.

Mundilfari 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 degrees 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.

Mundilfari has a mean radius of about 3.5 km, assuming an albedo of 0.06. It orbits Saturn at an inclination of about 169 degrees and an eccentricity of about 0.2. At a mean distance of 18.7 million km from Saturn, the satellite takes about 953 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Discovery:
Mundilfari was discovered in 2000 by Brett J. Gladman, John J. Kavelaars, Jean-Marc Petit, Hans Scholl, Matthew J. Holman, Brian G. Marsden, Phillip D. Nicholson, and Joseph A. Burns using the 3.6-m Canada-France-Hawaii reflector on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, with adaptive optics. They discovered seven other Saturnian moons at the same time: Tarvos, Ijiraq, Thrymr, Skathi, Siarnaq, Erriapus, and Suttungr.

How Mundilfari Got its Name:
Originally called S/2000 S9, Mundilfari was named for the father of two beautiful children in Norse mythology, a son whom he named "Moon" and a daughter whom he named "Sun." The gods were angered at what they considered his arrogance, so they placed the children in the sky and made the daughter drive the chariot of the sun and the son drive the chariot of the Moon. Each is chased by a wolf who is destined to catch and devour them at the doomsday time known as Ragnarok.

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  18,667,900 km
Mean Radius:  3.5 (assuming an albedo of 0.06) km
Volume:  180 km3
Mass:  209,813,580,633,607 kg
Resources
Headlines
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 11 Apr 2011