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Possible New Saturn Satellites
IAU Circular 6162


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                                                  Circular No. 6162
Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Postal Address: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Phone 617-495-7244/7440/7444     TWX 710-320-6842 ASTROGRAM CAM


M. K. Gordon, C. D. Murray and K. Beurle, Queen Mary and West- field College, University of London, report on the possible existence of additional satellites of Saturn in the Voyager 2 data. They also quote S. P. Synnott as noting that the seven satellite candidates discussed by him on IAUC 3651, 3656, and 3660 should be reduced to three (S/1981 S 7, 10, and 11), together with a very faint fourth one, designated S/1981 S 14, observed on 1981 Aug. 23.9955 UT around 2.0 x 10^5 km from Saturn. Summarized below are the 1981 Aug. UT dates of the new images (not the 'earth received' times), approximate planet-centered distances (in units of 10^5 km) and longitudes (in deg), assuming circular orbits in the equatorial plane (in J2000.0 coordinates fixed on 1981 Aug. 21.2), and estimated apparent visual geocentric opposition magnitudes: S/1981 S 15, 21.2439, 1.74, 222, 18; S/1981 S 16, 21.2789, 2.20, 290, 18; S/1981 S 17, 22.1928, 2.31, 282, 18; S/1981 S 18, 23.9050, 1.85, 206, 24; S/1981 S 19, 23.9866, 1.86, 109, 22. Pointing-error corrections in the Voyager database for S/1981 S 18 and 19 could not be corrected; consequently, the error bars for these two features are on the order of two to three thousand km. The orbital radii above are particularly sensitive to the assumption that the possible satellites are on orbits in the equatorial plane. Orbits with moderate inclinations (1-1.5 deg) could produce changes of several thousands of kilometers in the radial positions. Based on dynamical considerations, S/1981 S 16 and 18 may be separate observations of a single small satellite coorbital with Mimas (Saturn I) with an orbital inclination comparable to that of Mimas.

1995 April 14                  (6162)            Daniel W. E. Green

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