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Astr112 Photography Projects, Spring 2006

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The Moons of Saturn, Anna Fongers

The Moons of Saturn

Saturn is the the sixth planet from the sun, with an orbit of 9.45 AU. It has a diameter of 120,536 kilometers, and a mass of 5.68x10^26 kilograms. This movie file focuses on the moons of Saturn and their movement, specifically that of the moon Titan. Saturn has eighteen satellites, of which Titan is by far the largest in diameter with a radius of 2575 kilometers. The specific moon Titan was discovered in 1655 by Huygens, a Dutch mathematician who first patented the pendulum clock.

This particular depiction of the moons of Saturn is focused upon the movement of Titan around the planet. Titan's orbit is about 3 arcminutes from the planet Saturn, which is 1 million kilometers, making it the fourth-furthest away from the planet. Saturn's mass is 3x10^26 kilograms, based upon Titan's period of 16 days, its orbital distance and Kepler's third law. Although it appears that Titan (the brightest moon visible in this image) is simply making a circular path around the planet Saturn, there are some visual discrepancies. Because the photographs that compose this final image were taken with a gap between the first two and last two, Titan had the time to completely circle Saturn again before the third photo was taken (due to the fact that Titan has an orbit that lasts approximately two weeks). Thus, the third image depicts Titan a full revolution after the second image.

References:
Arnette, Bill. "Saturn." Nine Planets. 11 May 2005. 9 May 2006 <http://www.nineplanets.org/saturn.html>.

"Cristiaan Huygens." Feb. 1997. JOC/EFR. 9 May 2006 <http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Huygens.html>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 08:30
Declination (J2000) +19:41
Filters used green(V), blue (B)
Exposure time per filter 0.2 seconds in V, 0.2 seconds in B
Dates observed

March 13, 2006 (V) Titan on bottom,
March 20, 2006 (V) Titan in upper left,
April 7, 2006 (B) Titan in upper right,
April 8, 2006 (V) Titan on right.