Our outdoor cat’s namesake (Pan, ring shepherd).

 

 

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Last fall when a mama cat brought us her tired, hungry and wet baby, I didn’t imagine it’d go this far. What went from random feedings turned into getting it fixed (she was being chased by at least 5 males during her first heat). Mating cats sounds godawful. It is basically rape. Being that she looked so helpless we began cracking the garage door so she could hide. Then when we got her fixed, we let her recover there. From there she turned into a daily occurance and she became my nighttime companion. She follows wherever I go while I take pictures, never farther than a few feet. Before getting her fixed, we didn’t know what sex she was, so I went for an asexual name, Pan.

Pan is a badass cat AND a badass moon. Within one of the most prominent gaps in Saturn’s ring systems lies this walnut shaped moon. Maybe 25 miles wide and under 20 miles tall, it was what’s known as a ring shepherd. It exists within the Encke Gap.

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Saturn’s rings give us a really good idea of how planets form around something like our Sun. To be considered a planet (which Pan is NOT, but still, a good example) you must clear out your orbit’s path of sizable rocks and gases. Pan has done this. The moon was predicted before it was even spotted. The gap along with imperfections in the surrounding levels of rings made it easy to say we’d find a large body of some type within the Encke Gap. Low and behold, Pan was found within 1 degree of where it was predicted. It is the second-innermost moon of Saturn (that we know of), lying farther than only Atlas (also within the rings and shaped like a walnut).

Not going anywhere in particular with this, just found it cool. =)

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