Anthe (pronounced An-thee; adjective: Anthean) is a tiny 2-kilometer (1-mile) diameter moon that orbits between Mimas and Enceladus at about of 197,700 kilometers (122,800 miles) from Saturn. Anthe and two other tiny moons, Methone and Pallene, may have split from either Mimas or Enceladus, or all five moons may be the remains of a larger swarm that traveled in that area close to Saturn. Anthe circles Saturn in approximately 24 hours and 15 minutes.
Because these three tiny moons orbit at very similar distances from Saturn, they are in a dynamical relationship. Mimas strongly perturbs the 3-kilometer (2-mile) diameter moon Methone, the 4-kilometer (3-mile) moon Pallene and the 2-kilometer (1-mile) diameter moon Anthe, all of which orbit between Mimas and the next major moon, Enceladus. The vastly more massive Mimas causes the Methone orbit to vary by as much as 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), has a slightly smaller effect on Pallene, and has the greatest effect on Anthe.
These three moons may also be contributing particles to Saturn's E ring., As a consequence of their small size and recent discovery, astronomers have few details on characteristics of these moons such as reflectivity (called albedo), rotation (probably tidally locked on Saturn because they are so close), and composition.
The Cassini Imaging team discovered Anthe on May 30, 2007, although a check back revealed Anthe in Cassini images as early as June 2004. Anthe is the 60th confirmed moon of Saturn.
Origin of Name
John Herschel suggested that the moons of Saturn be associated with Greek mythical brothers and sisters of Kronus, known to the Romans as Saturn. The International Astronomical Union now controls the official naming of astronomical bodies.
The name Anthe comes from the name in Greek mythology of one of seven Alkyonides, daughters of the god (or Titan) Alkyoneus who was born of Gaia and from the blood of Uranus. Herakles (Hercules) killed their father in the war between the gods of Mount Olympus and the titans. Overcome by grief, the seven daughters threw themselves into the sea to die, but the goddess Amphitrite, who took pity on them, transformed them into halcyons or kingfishers.
Astronomers also refer to Anthe as Saturn XLIX and as S/2007 S4.