I think Titan may be just captured by Saturn, not formed with Saturn together, because:

  1. It has so much nitrogen and methane, which is similar to Pluto and Triton

  2. Except Titan, other moons of Saturn are very small, which other moons may be ejected by Titan during capturing process, similar to Triton and Neptune

  3. According to Nice model, Neptune swapped position with Uranus, while Saturn pulled Jupiter away from the Sun, so I think the orbit of Neptune and Saturn is quite close at past, so if Neptune can capture kuiper object, Saturn also can

Is it possible that Titan was a Kuiper object?

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    $\begingroup$ @LocalFluff -- the question is about Titan, not Triton. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2016 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


Titan is roughly ten times more massive than Pluto or Eris, the most massive known Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs). (Titan is in fact more massive than any other moon in the Solar System except Ganymede.) It would be a rather strange coincidence if the object that was by far the most massive of the KBOs was in orbit around Saturn, well interior to the Kuiper Belt.

Titan's orbit is prograde (it orbits in the same direction that Saturn rotates) and barely tilted with respect to Saturn's equator (less than half a degree), the rings, and most of the other moons. That strongly suggests it formed out of an accretion disk around Saturn, as the Galilean moons formed around Jupiter.

Titan also has an extremely dense atmosphere, unlike any of the KBOs.

So it's rather unlikely that Titan is a captured KBO.

(Neptun's moon Triton, by the way, is thought to be a captured KBO. But it is only slightly more massive than Eris or Pluto, and it has a peculiar retrograde orbit that is very difficult to explain if it formed around Neptune, but easier to explain if it was captured. And since Neptune is the furthest out of the (known) major planets, it's not that surprising that it could have captured a KBO.)


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