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Ijiraq

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Ijiraq (ee'-yə-raak or ee'-jə-raak, IPA /ˈiːjərɑk/, /ˈiːdʒərɑk/) is a prograde irregular satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by the team of John J. Kavelaars, et al. in 2000, and given the temporary designation S/2000 S 6. It is also designated as Saturn XXII. It is now named after the Ijiraq, a creature of Inuit mythology.


Ijiraq is about 10 kilometres in diameter, and orbits Saturn at an average distance of 11,372 Mm in 452.760 days, at an inclination of 50° to the ecliptic (31° to Saturn's equator), and with an eccentricity of 0.343. It is a member of the Inuit group of irregular satellites.

Kavelaars, an astronomer at McMaster University, suggested this name to help astronomical nomenclature to get out of its Greco-Romano-Renaissance rut. He spent several months trying to find names that were both multi-cultural and Canadian, consulting Amerindian scholars without finding a name that seemed appropriate. In March 2001, he was reading an Inuit tale to his children and had a revelation. The ijiraq plays at hide-and-seek, which is what these small moons of Saturn do: they are hard to find, and cold like the Canadian arctic (the team of discoverers includes Canadians, Norwegians and Icelanders — Nordicity is their common trait). Kavelaars contacted the author of the tale, Michael Kusugak, to get his assent, and the latter also suggested the names for Kiviuq and 90377 Sedna.

... | Tarvos | Ijiraq | Suttungr | ...


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