Discovery

S/2006 S3 was discovered on Mar. 6, 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.

Overview

Not yet officially named, S/2006 S3 has a mean radius of 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 159 degrees and an eccentricity of about 0.4. At a mean distance of 13.7 million miles (22.1 million kilometers) from Saturn, the satellite takes about 1,227 Earth days to complete one orbit.

S/2006 S3 is a member of the Norse group of moons. These irregular satellites have retrograde orbits around Saturn -- traveling around in the opposite direction from the planet's rotation. S/2006 S3 and the other Norse moons also have eccentric orbits, meaning they are more elongated than circular.

Like Saturn's other irregular moons, S/2006 S3 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 satellites are thought to have done. S/2006 S3 appears to be a member of a subgroup that also includes Skathi, Skoll, Hyrrokkin, S/2006 S1, Farbauti, Bergelmir, and Kari.

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.

Solar System News