By: Savannah C.

What is Dione?

(Dy-Oh-Nee) Dione is a moon of Saturn. Out of 62 moons that officially orbit the planet, Dione is the fourth largest of them.
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Dione was discovered by a French, but Italian born, astronomer Giovanni (Geo-Vonni) Domenico Cassini. Along with discovering Dione, he also discovered 3 other moons of Saturn. He first discovered it when he was studying Saturn through a telescope in 1684. Since then, there have multiple flyby missions to see Dione. Some of these missions were the U.S. space probes Voyager 1 and 2 that flew by in the early 1980's and the U.S. Cassini flyby in 2004. Both took photos of the moon and its terrain.

Mythology Behind Dione's Name

Dione was named after the Greek Titan Goddess. Little was known about her, but she was said to be beautiful and associated with water. Dione was also the daughter of Tethys, which also happens to be the name of another moon close to Dione. But scientists see the two more as sisters because they were out of the same disk around early Saturn. But of course, mythology and science have never seen things eye to eye.

Features and Orbit

Dione's surface is mainly ice. As you will see in pictures, it has lots of craters and there are wispy streaks on the surface. Scientists believe that the craters were made by meteorites. Some of these craters are as large as 62 miles (100 km) across and are one of the most common terrain features. The streaks are large fractures in the ice.

Dione makes a complete orbit of Dione every 2.74 days. It also shares and orbit with 2 smaller moons, Helene and Polyceuces. But unlike the Earth's moon, Dione does not go through different phases. One side constantly faces Saturn. Dione also slightly speeds up at it approaches another moon and slows down as is draws away from them.

Saturn's moon Dione seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft
The photos seen in the video are from a recent flyby mission of Dione. They were taken by NASA's spacecraft Cassini on June 16th, 2015.


Works Cited

Closest Views of Dione. 2015. NASA. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19654>.

Dione. 2015. NASA. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18336>.

Dione. 2015. NASA. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/cassini20111212c.html>.

Dione- A Brighter Moon. 2015. NASA. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18336>.

"Dione Before the Rings." NASA. NASA, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. <https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia18344/dione-before-the-rings>.

Dione Full. 2015. NASA. NASA. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA12553>.

Dione- Mother and Daughter. 2015. NASA. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/cassini20111212c.html>.

Hendrix, Amanda R. "Dione." World Book Student. 2015 ed. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. World Book. World Book Encyclopedia. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"Mother and Daughter." NASA. NASA, 23 July 2015. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. <https://www.nasa.gov/jpl/cassini/pia18325/mother-and-daughter>.

Saturn's Moon Dione Seen by NASA's Spacecraft Cassini. Youtube. SciNews, 19 June 2015. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.

"Solar System Exploration." Solar System Exploration. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. <http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/dione>