Pan, also known as Saturn XVIII, is a natural satellite of the outer planet, Saturn. Pan was discovered on July 16, 1990 by the astronomer M. Showalter. It is named after the Pagan Sex God or Greek God of Shepards.
The surface of Pan is not very visible to most people, even under high-power telescopes.
Pan is irregulary shaped and is shaped similarly to a walnut. It orbits inside the Encke gap.
Multiple astronomers theorized the existence of a moon inside the Encke gap. When Voyager 1 flew by Saturn, it took several somewhat low resolution pictures of this moon, enough for any forensic evidence of such a moon. Pan would not by identified until 10 years later, when an astronomer, M. R. Showalter was analyzing images of Saturn and its rings taken by Voyager and found a walnut shaped satellite orbiting inside the Encke gap. Pan has been visited by 2 other space probes: Voyager 2 and Cassini. The latter has helped resolve more surface details and vice versa, and it looks a lot like an asteroid. Scientists are still not sure whether it was captured, was chipped off another moon, or formed with the planet. When discovered it was given the title "Saturn XVIII"
Pan is named after the god Pan. In Greek religion and mythology, Pan (Ancient Greek: Πᾶν, Pān) is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, and companion of the nymphs. His name originates within the Ancient Greek language, from the word paein (πάειν), meaning "to pasture." He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism. Pan is famous for his sexual prowess, and is often depicted with an erect phallus. He was believed by the Greeks to have plied his charms primarily on maidens and shepherds, such as Daphnis.
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