föstudagur, nóvember 02, 2007

S/2004 S 19

I have only now learned that Hyrrokkin is also a moon in the Skaði subgroup of Saturn's irregular retrograde satellites. She is new: her discovery announced in June 2006, named this April, the name corrected only this July. She is 18 kilometers across. I cannot find any images of her -- perhaps there are none, only measurements -- so I cannot say whether she is shriveled and black as her name would suggest. She courses about at an inclination of 153.3° to the ecliptic with a host of giantish kinsmen: Þrymr, Suttungr, Ymir, Mundilfari, Narvi.

She is nafni to the giantess who launches Baldr's funerary ship. The gods are set to put the ship to sea; she comes riding on a wolf. Odin's berserks knock it to the ground when she dismounts. She is the only one who can shift the keel and push the boat out on to the water. No one knows why.

I cannot help but think of her younger sister doing something similar. What else is out there orbiting Saturn in retrograde? What grim vessel is Hyrrokkin pushing before her out there in the dark?

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