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Iapetus(īăp`ĭtəs), in astronomy, one of the named moons, or natural satellites, of SaturnSaturn,
in astronomy, 6th planet from the sun. Astronomical and Physical Characteristics of Saturn
Saturn's orbit lies between those of Jupiter and Uranus; its mean distance from the sun is c.886 million mi (1.
..... Click the link for more information. . Also known as Saturn VIII (or S8), Iapetus is 907 mi (1460 km) in diameter, orbits Saturn at a mean distance of 2,212,885 mi (3,561,300 km), and has equal orbital and rotational periods of 79.33 earth days. Saturn's third largest moon, it was discovered in 1671 by the Italian-French astronomer Gian Domenico CassiniCassini
, name of a family of Italian-French astronomers, four generations of whom were directors of the Paris Observatory. Gian Domenico Cassini, 1625–1712, was born in Italy and distinguished himself while at Bologna by his studies of the sun and planets,
..... Click the link for more information. . With a density of only 1.1, Iapetus is believed to consist almost completely of water ice. A notable surface feature is a ridge that encircles it along its equator and rises as high as 12 mi (20 km). The reflectivity and surface features of Iapetus's leading and trailing hemispheres are noticeably different. The leading hemisphere is remarkably dark, while the trailing hemisphere is light—the asymmetry is so marked that Cassini wrote that he could see Iapetus on one side of Saturn but not on the other. The difference in reflectivity is due in part to the accumulation of dust on the leading hemisphere; this dust is believed to come from the enormous but faint ring of Saturn discovered in 2009. Much of the difference in reflectivity, however, is believed to be due to residue left behind by the sublimation of ice. The trailing hemisphere is also heavily cratered, while the leading hemisphere is not. Unlike all the other moons but PhoebePhoebe
, in astronomy, one of the named moons, or natural satellites, of Saturn. Also known as Saturn IX (or S9), Phoebe is 137 mi (220 km) in diameter, orbits Saturn at a mean distance of 8,047,985 mi (12,952,000 km), has an orbital period of 550.
..... Click the link for more information. , Iapetus's orbit is inclined to the plane of Saturn's equator.
Iapetus,in Greek mythology, a Titan. By the nymph Clymene he fathered Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.
Iapetus(ÿ-ap -ĕ-tŭs) A satellite of Saturn, discovered in 1671 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini. The diameter of Iapetus is 1440 km so that in size it is the twin of the satellite Rhea but its density, 1.21 g cm–3, is much lower. It is a strange satellite with a dark leading hemisphere (albedo 0.04–0.05) compared with a bright trailing edge of albedo 0.6. The dark hemisphere carries the name Cassini Regio. It appears to be coated with some dark material. The demarcation between the dark and light regions is not abrupt and there is a transition region 200–300 km in width with a meandering boundary. The bright trailing edge is most heavily cratered; some of the craters have dark floors but it is not known if the dark material in them is the same as that covering Cassini Regio. The material on the leading edge is thought to be carbon-based, but it is unclear whether it was emitted from the interior of Iapetus or was debris from eruptions on other Saturnian satellites swept up by Iapetus from space.
Iapetus was photographed by Voyager 2 in 1981 and by Cassini–Huygens in 2004. The Cassini images revealed some new features not seen on the Voyager images, in particular a vast ancient impact basin over 400 km across, which has been heavily overprinted with more recent smaller craters, and a curious and extraordinary ridge that almost exactly coincides with Iapetus' equator. It appears as a 20-km-wide band, 1300 km long, that seems to girdle the whole satellite, extending above the surface of Iapetus to a height of up to 13 km. The equatorial ridge may be a mountain belt that has folded upward, or perhaps it was formed when material from inside Iapetus erupted onto the surface through a crack and accumulated locally.
See also Table 2, backmatter.
a satellite of Saturn, approximately 1,800 km in diameter and located at a mean distance of 3,563,000 km from the center of Saturn. It was discovered in 1671 by G. D. Cassini.