I was using Stellarium to watch Saturn from its moon Pan and I saw the rings were very close to this moon. Now Saturn's rings extend for a large distance so several moons see them from close. I was wondering, is it know which Saturn moon passes closest to Saturn's rings and at what distance?


1 Answer 1


Pan, Daphnis, and various other moonlets, I would argue, are inside the rings.

If you explicitly discount the Encke gap (which Pan orbits in) and the Keeler gap (which Daphnis orbits in) as being part of the ring system, Daphnis would be your answer, as it is a ~8 km object in a 42 km gap. (for comparison, Pan is a ~35 km object in a 325 km gap)

Really, your answer depends on what you want to consider a moon. There are many objects small enough to be classed as moonlets (several hundred metres across) embedded in the rings, and presumably countless more of smaller size.

  • $\begingroup$ Does Pan and Daphnis go at the same speed than the ring objects? $\endgroup$
    – Pablo
    Feb 11, 2019 at 4:20
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Pan and Daphnis go at similar (but not exactly the same) speeds as the ring material at the edges of their respective gaps. All the material in Saturn's rings is orbiting around Saturn, which means the orbital velocity changes with how far out from Saturn the material is. The rings don't move at the same speed around saturn. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Feb 11, 2019 at 4:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The rings and nearby moon(lets) should really be considered part of the same dynamical system, since the moonlets stabilise the rings and allow them to persist. $\endgroup$
    – MikeW
    Feb 11, 2019 at 16:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .