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Saturn Rules !? : Irregular populations

Presentation #308.02 in the session Outer Irregular Satellites.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Saturn Rules !? : Irregular populations

All the giant planets are surrounded by irregular moons populations, each of which have now been studied with mosaic CCD cameras to various depths. The simplest searches are familiar ‘moving target’ detections to the depth achievable in single exposures (limited by the trailing losses engendered by the motion of the planet), which makes work past magnitude 23 beginning to be challenging at Jupiter, and past 24 for the more distant planets. However, ‘shift and stack’ algorithms (which take short exposures and then co-add them at various sky rates needed to cover all possible on-sky rates for a planet’s moons) allow integration roughly 2 magnitudes deeper, at the possible expense of field area. We have pushed studies at Jupiter and Saturn to near the practical limits of this technique. The size frequency distribution derived for each planet imply that Saturn currently hosts more irregular moons with D>3 km than Jupiter, an plausibly more than all the other planets combined.

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