Strange Moon: Hyperion
Mass: 0.56199 × 10^19 kg
Dimensions: 360 x 266 x 205 km
Surface Temp: 93 K ( -180 C )
Date Discovered: 1848
Distinction: First non-round moon to be discovered.
When Voyager 2 passed through the Saturn system back in 1981, it was able to capture a closer image of Hyperion.
However, it was not exactly the best image that could show a lot of detail :
The Voyager 2 image showed Hyperion as a irregular looking blob of rock. Nothing really spectacular looking about it.
As Voyager 2 was simply doing a fly by and had dates with Uranus and Neptune, it was not able to capture better images of this moon.
Then, after the arrival of Cassini at Saturn, who's mission it was to orbit and study both Saturn and it's moons, so that in 2005, the Cassini probe
was able to capture this image of Hyperion:
Turns out Hyperion isn't just some irregular blob of a rock after all!
When I first saw this image of Hyperion, I made it my desktop wall paper. I was so impressed with how it looked. All I could think of was:
"Is it a Sea Sponge?"
"Or is it some sort of interplanetary wasp nest?"
Well, okay, I knew it most likely was not either of those things. Still, the way Hyperion looks it certainly reminded me of those things!
Here is another smaller picture of it, from a different angle and further away:
As you can see, when we get further away from it, it doesn't look quite as strange as it does up close and personal.
From what we can tell, Hyperion has a low density indicating that it's made mostly of water ice with a small amount of rock in it.
Cassini flybys of Hyperion helped gather data that seems to show that 40 percent of the moon is empty space.
*imagine the sound of back ground music suddenly screeching to a halt*
Say whaaaaaaat? 40 percent of this moon is "empty space"?????
Okay, before anyone get's REALLY imaginitive here and starts thinking "Hollow Moon!", the data doesn't indicate that there is a large space inside
Hyperion that is empty and taking up 40% of the moon's interior.
40 percent empty simply means that there are voids and spaces in the rocky material inside Hyperion. Sort of like if you went outside, got a clear jar
and filled it with rocks. If you look at the jar after doing that, you will see spaces inbetween the rocks.
What intrigues me is the water ice itself. It's the reason we have these very deep and sharp craters on the surface of Hyperion.
Want to make your own "Hyperion Moon" ? Wait until the next time you have access to snow. Get a hand full of small rocks and glue them together with
some super glue, into a rough sphere (this simulates the rocks that are globbed together in Hyperion).
Now take your Rock Glob and hit the snow. roll it around in the snow so that the snow sticks to and begins to accumulate on your Rock glob and until
it's completely covered.
Now use your fingers and start poking holes into that rocky snow ball you just made. Make some craters shallow, and make some deep.
If you REALLY want to be authentic, use a sling shot and some dry dog food as small "asteroids" that "impact" with Hyperion.
Then take a picture of it and post it here. I wanna see if anyone actually makes a Hyperion!
Exploring Hyperion with a high resolution picture shows us some impressive looking terrain. I'm wondering if there is ANY level place on the the
You can just see avalanchies of material that have cascaded down into the craters, reminding me of the Alps:
Hyperion has sister moons: Phoebe and Iapetus. Neither of which actually look like Hyperion. Here is a image of Phoebe, it really does look like just
a lump of irregular rock:
All though I have heard some say that Phoebe reminds them of some giant "Space Skull"......I don't quite see that one myself.
Iapetus I will show and talk about in another thread.
Other than just simply looking like a giant sea sponge, I've never found anything on Hyperion that suggests something strange (IE secret bases,
crashed star ships, etc), however, here is a link where you can download very high resolution images of Hyperion and look for yourself if you wish
Hyperion High Resolution Link
Here also is a link to a site that has a very impressive animated GIF of Casinni's 2005 flyby of Hyperion:
FOSS Planetary Science
Hope you enjoyed the thread. Next one will be on Mimas (aka known as the Death Star Moon).