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Galatea (moon) facts for kids

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Galatea moon.jpg
Galatea as seen by Voyager 2 (elongation is due to smearing)
Discovered by Stephen P. Synnott and Voyager Imaging Team
Discovery date July 1989
MPC designation Neptune VI
Named after
Γαλάτεια Galateia
Adjectives Galatean
Orbital characteristics
Epoch 18 August 1989
61 952.57  km
Eccentricity 0.00022 ± 0.00008
0.42874431 ± 0.00000001 d
  • 0.052 ± 0.011° (to Neptune equator)
  • 0.06° (to local Laplace plane)
Satellite of Neptune
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 204×184×144 km (±~10 km)
Mean radius
87.4 ± 4.9 km
Volume ~2.8×106km3
Mass 2.12 ± 0.08 ×1018 kg
Mean density
~0.75 g/cm3 (estimate)
~0.018 m/s2
~0.056 km/s
Albedo 0.08
Temperature ~51 K mean (estimate)
Orbits of inner moons of Neptune including S 2004 N 1
The diagram shows the orbits of several moons located close to the planet Neptune. All of them were discovered in 1989 by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, with the exception of S/2004 N 1, which was discovered in archival Hubble Space Telescope images taken from 2004 to 2009.
Galatea feat
Galatea inside of a faint ring arc near Neptune

Galatea also known as Neptune VI, is the fourth-closest inner moon of Neptune. It was discovered in 1989 by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft.

Galatea is a small moon and is irregularly shaped. It orbits in the same direction as Neptune. Scientists believe that Galatea was formed of broken fragments of Neptune's earlier smashed-up satellites. Galatea shows no sign of any geological modification.

Galatea appears to be a shepherd moon. A shepherd moon is a small moon that orbits near the inner or outer edges of parent planet's rings or within gaps in the rings.

Interesting facts about Galatea

  • Galatea is named after Galatea, one of the fifty Nereids of Greek legend, with whom Cyclops Polyphemus was vainly in love.
  • It is likely that Galatea is a rubble pile re-accreted from fragments of Neptune's smashed up satellites.
  • Galatea's orbit is slowly spiralling inward, which may eventually impact the planet. It can later break up into a new planetary ring system.
  • Galatea only shows one face toward Neptune, its parent planet. This happens because Galatea's orbit is tidally locked. A tidally locked body takes just as long to rotate around its own axis as it does to revolve around its parent planet.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Galatea (satélite) para niños

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