Ijiraq orbits Saturn at an average distance of 11,100,000 km in 451 days on an orbit very similar to Kiviuq's. The diagram illustrates its orbit in relation to other non-spherical moons of Saturn. The eccentricity of the orbits is represented by the yellow segments extending from the pericentre to the apocentre.
Physical characteristics change
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 good. In March 2001, he was reading an Inuit story 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 Icelandic's—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.