Dione is one of the moons that orbits the planet Saturn. It is the fifteenth largest moon in our solar system, and one of the four moons discovered by Giovani Cassini (the others being Rhea, Iapetus and Tethys). It was founded more than 330 years ago, and is interesting because it has an atmosphere made up of oxygen ions. Lets see some of the facts about the moon Dione.
Dione Moon Facts
- Dione has an estimated radius of 348.8 miles (561.4km).
- This makes Dione about one third of the size of the Earth’s moon, and around 20% of the largest moon in our solar system, Ganymede.
- Dione orbits Saturn at a distance of 234,500 miles (377,400 km).
- To complete one full trip around Saturn, it only takes Dione around 2.7 days.
- Dione takes it’s named from a Titaness from Greek mythology.
- It was discovered back in 1684 by astronomer Giovanni Cassini, more than 70 years after Saturn was first seen by Galileo.
- Dione is known for it’s large ice cliffs, created by fractures in the ice.
- Dione is also well known for it’s amount of craters, many of which are in excess of 100km.
- This moon has an average temperature of -186°c.
- We know more about Dione from both the Voyager spacecraft but also the Cassini-Huygens research mission.
Common Questions about Dione
Where does the name Dione come from?
The name Dione comes from Greek mythology; she was a Titaness, which many people know from The Iliad. Dione is actually the mother of Aphrodite – Aphrodite is the Greek equivalent of the Roman Goddess Venus, which is where the planet takes it’s name. In The Iliad, Dione comforts her daughter after she is wounded by a mortal hero, Diomedes.
What is Dione made of?
Dione is considered to be made up of a mixture of silicate rock and water ice. Though we aren’t sure, it is also likely that this moon has an ocean beneath it’s surface. This is based on findings from the Cassini-Huygens mission, and the knowledge we have of the subsurface oceans of the moons of Jupiter.
What is on Dione’s surface?
Dione’s surface is filled with craters, large canyons and many ridges. There are many huge craters on it’s surface, some of which have a diameter of more than 100km. However what is most impressive about this moon is it’s large cliffs of ice. Originally, astronomers thought that these ice cliffs were cryovolanoes (which are essentially volcanoes that shoot out water and ammonia instead of lava). However on closer inspection, astronomers found that they were actually large cliffs that were hundreds of meters high across it’s surface.
What is Dione’s orbiting pattern?
Dione orbits Saturn at a distance of more than 200,000 miles away. However, it still only takes Dione 2.7 days for it to complete a full trip around this moon. Dione is actually co-orbital with two smaller moons, named Helene and Polydeuces. This just means that these two moons are orbiting Saturn at a very close proximity to Dione, and follow the same orbiting pattern.
Can I see Dione with a telescope?
Many people wonder whether they can see Dione with a telescope. The good news is that yes, you can see Dione with the telescope, as well as many of the other moons of Saturn.
All in all, Dione is one of the larger moons of the planet Saturn (it’s actually the fifth largest out of all of them). It has a pretty standard orbital pattern and it’s surface is covered with many different features. If you have any questions about Dione or any other moons, then please leave a comment below.