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Suttungr: Overview
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Suttungr 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.

Suttungr has a mean radius of about 3.5 km, assuming an albedo of 0.06. It orbits Saturn at an inclination of about 174 degrees and an eccentricity of about 0.1. At a mean distance of 19.5 million km from Saturn, the satellite takes about 1,017 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Suttungr 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, Hawaii, with adaptive optics. They discovered seven other Saturnian moons at the same time: Tarvos, Ijiraq, Thrymr, Skathi, Siarnaq, Erriapus, and Mundilfari.

How Suttungr Got its Name:
Originally called S/2000 S12, Suttungr was named for Suttung, a giant in Norse mythology. Two dwarfs were responsible for the death of Suttungr's father in a "boating accident." Those same two dwarfs also murdered his mother. So Suttung captured the dwarfs and took them to a reef, planning to leave them there to drown when the high tide came in. However, Suttung relented when the dwarfs offered to give him special mead (an alcoholic drink made of honey and, in this special case, the blood of a traveling wise man they had killed) which made anyone who drank the mead a poet or scholar. Suttung ultimately lost the mead to Odin, the supreme Norse god.

Just the Facts
Orbit Size (semi-major axis):  12,102,260 miles
Mean Radius:  2.2 miles
25 Jul 2003: 
29 Dec 2000: 
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Last Updated: 11 Apr 2011