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.
|Discovered by||Mark R. Showalter|
|Date of discovery||1990|
|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 inclination (degrees)||0.0|
|Visual geometric albedo||0.5|
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.