Helene (moon)

Helene /ˈhɛlɪn/ is a moon of Saturn. It was discovered by Pierre Laques and Jean Lecacheux in 1980 from ground-based observations at Pic du Midi Observatory,[1] and was designated S/1980 S 6.[7] In 1988 it was officially named after Helen of Troy, who was the granddaughter of Cronus (Saturn) in Greek mythology.[8] Helene is also designated Saturn XII (12), which it was given in 1982, and Dione B,[9] because it is co-orbital with Dione and located in its leading Lagrangian point (L4). It is one of four known trojan moons.

Leading hemisphere of Helene - 20110618.jpg
High-resolution view of leading hemisphere, showing gullies and apparent dust (regolith) flows (Cassini, June 2011)
Discovery [1]
Discovered byP. Laques
J. Lecacheux
Discovery sitePic du Midi Observatory
Discovery dateMarch 1, 1980
Saturn XII
Named after
Helen of Troy (Ἑλένη Helenē)
  • Dione B
  • S/1980 S 6
AdjectivesHelenean /hɛlɪˈnən/[3]
Orbital characteristics
377396 km
2.736915 d[4]
Inclination0.199° (to Saturn's equator)
Satellite ofSaturn
GroupL4 Dione trojan
Physical characteristics
Dimensions43.4 × 38.2 × 26 km [5]
Mean radius
17.6±0.4 km[5]
Albedo1.67±0.20 (geometric) [6]
Animation of Polydeuces's orbit relative to Saturn and Dione
  Polydeuces  ·   Helene ·   Dione ·   Saturn


Helene was initially observed from Earth in 1980,[7] and Voyager flybys of Saturn in the early 1980s allowed much closer views. The Cassini–Huygens mission, which went into orbit around Saturn in 2004, provided still better views, and allowed more in-depth analysis of Helene, including views of the surface under different lighting conditions. Some of the closest images of Helene to date are from the Cassini spacecraft's 1800 km flyby on March 3, 2010, and another very successful imaging sequence occurred in June 2011. There have been many other approaches over the course of the Cassini mission.

Selected observationsEdit

Mostly raw greyscale images with near infrared or ultraviolet channels.

Cassini image of Helene against the backdrop of Saturn's clouds (March 3, 2010)
Flow-like features on Helene's leading hemisphere (Cassini, January 2011)
Helene's Saturn-facing side, lit by saturnshine (Cassini, March 2010)
Close-up of Helene with Saturn in the background (Cassini, March 2010)
Cassini image from March 3, 2010
Cassini orbiter image from November 2008
Cassini image taken July 2007
Voyager 2 image (August 1981)


  1. ^ a b Lecacheux1980.
  2. ^ John Walker (1839) A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language;
    also per "Helena". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Clarified as Helenéan in Earle (1841) Marathon: and other poems, p. 76.
  4. ^ NASA Celestia Archived March 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Thomas 2010.
  6. ^ Verbiscer French et al. 2007.
  7. ^ a b IAUC 3496.
  8. ^ IAUC 4609.
  9. ^ Transactions of the International Astronomical Union, Vol. XVIIIA, 1982 (mentioned in IAUC 3872: Satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, September 30, 1983


External linksEdit