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Solar System Exploration
S/2006 S3: Overview
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S/2006 S3 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. S/2006 S3 appears to be a member of a subgroup that also includes Skathi, Skoll, Hyrrokkin, S/2006 S1, Farbauti, Bergelmir, and Kari.

S/2006 S3 has a mean radius of about 2.5 km, assuming an albedo of 0.04. It orbits Saturn at an inclination of about 159° and an eccentricity of about 0.4. At a mean distance of 22.1 million km from Saturn, the satellite takes about 1227 Earth days to complete one orbit.

S/2006 S3 was discovered on 6 March 2006 by Scott S. Sheppard, David C. Jewitt and Jan T. Kleyna, based on data obtained with the Subaru 8.3-m reflector telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, during the months of January to April, 2006.

How S/2006 S3 Got its Name:
S/2006 S3 was so designated because it is a satellite (S) that was discovered in 2006, and was the 3rd satellite of Saturn (S) to be found that year.

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  22,100,100 km
Mean Radius:  2.5 (assuming an albedo of 0.04) km
Volume:  65 km3
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Last Updated: 22 Mar 2011