Farbauti was discovered on Dec. 12, 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.
Farbauti has a mean radius of about 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometers), assuming an albedo (a measure of how reflective the surface is) of 0.04. It orbits Saturn at an inclination of about 158 degrees and an eccentricity of about 0.2. At a mean distance of 12.7 million miles (20.4 million kilometers) from Saturn, the moon takes about 1,087 Earth days to complete one orbit.
Farbauti is a member of the Norse group of moons. These "irregular" moons have retrograde orbits around Saturn—traveling around in the opposite direction from the planet's rotation. Farbauti and the other Norse moons also have eccentric orbits, meaning they are more elongated than circular.
Like Saturn's other irregular moons, Farbauti is thought to be an object that was captured by Saturn's gravity, rather than having accreted from the dusty disk that surrounded the newly formed planet as the regular moons are thought to have done. Farbauti appears to be a member of a subgroup that also includes Skoll, Hyrrokkin, S/2006 S1, Bergelmir, Skathi, S/2006 S3, and Kari.
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.