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Saturn XVIII - 1990S18, 1981S13


Pan, the innermost known satellite, was found from photographs taken by Voyager during its encounter with Saturn. It was discovered by Mark R. Showalter in 1990, 9 years after the Voyager encounter. Pan is located 133,583 kilometers from the center of Saturn and is within the Encke Gap of Saturn's A-ring. It acts as a shepherd and is responsible for keeping the Encke gap open. It has a diameter of 20 kilometers.

Pan Statistics
 Discovered byMark R. Showalter 
 Date of discovery1990 
 Mass (kg)
 Equatorial radius (km)9.655 
 Equatorial radius (Earth = 1)1.5138e-03 
 Mean density (gm/cm^3)
 Mean distance from Saturn (km)133,583 
 Rotational period (days)
 Orbital period (days)0.5750 
 Mean orbital velocity (km/sec)16.90 
 Orbital eccentricity0.00 
 Orbital inclination (degrees)0.0 
 Visual geometric albedo0.5 
 Magnitude (Vo)

Views of Pan

This image shows the small moolet Pan located within the Saturn's Encke gap. The contrast has been enhanced and the image has been sharpened. (Copyright © 1998 by Calvin J. Hamilton)

Pan Within Encke Gap
This is the highest resolution image of Pan from the Voyager data. This image shows the A ring entering Saturn's shadow. Pan is located in the center of the small box within the Encke gap. Pan is shown enlarged and enhanced in the inset box. (Copyright © 1998 by Calvin J. Hamilton)


Showalter, Mark R., "Visual detection of 1981S13, Saturn's eighteenth satellite, and its role in the Encke gap," Nature, Vol. 351, 27 June 1991, 709-713.


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Copyright © 1997 by Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.