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Natural satellite

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Most of the 194 known natural satellites of the planets are irregular moons. Ganymede, followed by Titan, Callisto, Io and Earth's Moon are the largest natural satellites in the Solar System (see List of natural satellites § List). Venus has 0 moons Neptune has 14

A natural satellite, or moon, is, in the most common usage, an astronomical body that orbits a planet or minor planet (or sometimes another small Solar System body).

In the Solar System there are six planetary satellite systems containing 205 known natural satellites. Four IAU-listed dwarf planets are also known to have natural satellites: Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.[1] As of September 2018, there are 334 other minor planets known to have moons.[2]

The Earth–Moon system is unique in that the ratio of the mass of the Moon to the mass of Earth is much greater than that of any other natural-satellite–planet ratio in the Solar System. At 3,474 km (2,158 miles) across, the Moon is 0.273 times the diameter of Earth.[3] This is five times greater than the next largest moon-to-planet diameter ratio (with Neptune's largest moon at 0.055, Saturn's at 0.044, Jupiter's at 0.038 and Uranus' as 0.031). For the category of planetoids, among the five that are known in the Solar System, Charon has the largest ratio, being half (0.51) the diameter of Pluto.

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  • ✪ Jupiter's Moons: Crash Course Astronomy #17
  • ✪ The Moon is an astronomical body
  • ✪ Titan: Saturn's Largest Moon - An Alternative Earth?
  • ✪ The Moon - the Earth's natural Satellite
  • ✪ Earth's Hidden Moons - The Kordylewski Dust Satellites


This episode of Crash Course is brought to you by Squarespace. As we saw in the last episode, Jupiter is by far the largest and most massive planet in the solar system. That means it has a very strong gravitational field, which also means it can hold on to a lot of moons. A lot. Right now, as we record this episode, there are 67 that have been confirmed. And how many it really has depends on how small an object you're willing to call a "moon." In 1610, Galileo pointed his telescope at Jupiter, and witnessed a revolution. Oh, hey, literally! He saw three little stars lined up on either side of Jupiter, stars he could not see with his naked eye. And they moved! A week later he saw a fourth one, and he knew he was seeing objects revolving, orbiting around Jupiter. It was proof that not everything in the solar system revolved around the Earth. That was a pretty big deal. Those four moons are now called the Galilean moons in his honor. Not bad for a week’s work. All four are really big, too. If Jupiter weren’t there, drowning them out with its glare, they’d be visible to the naked eye. In that case we might even call them planets, too. The biggest of Jupiter’s moons is Ganymede. At 5270 km across, it’s the biggest moon of any planet. It’s even bigger than the planet Mercury—in fact, in size it’s halfway between Mercury and Mars! Size isn’t the only planet-like characteristic of Ganymede, either. It’s mostly rock and ice, but it probably has a liquid iron core. It even has a magnetic field, likely generated by that liquid core. The surface is similar to our own Moon in that there’s very old, cratered terrain as well as smoother, younger areas. Ganymede is also criss-crossed with large grooves. It’s not clear what the origin of those grooves is, but it may be related to stress and strain on the surface caused by the tides from the other large moons as they orbit Jupiter and pass each other. Ganymede has a surprise well below its surface, too: Oceans of water! Measurements of Ganymede’s magnetic field, made during multiple passes by the Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s, combined with Hubble observations of the moon, indicate Ganymede has quite a bit of salty liquid water, deep beneath its surface! As we’ll see in a sec, it’s not alone in that regard. The next biggest moon is Callisto, at 4800 km in diameter. In many ways it’s similar to its big brother Ganymede, mostly rock and ice. It probably has a rocky core, then a layer of mixed rock and ice above that. The surface is mostly ice, but mixed with darker material as well. It has a magnetic field, too, but it probably doesn’t have a metallic core. The surface is heavily cratered, and there’s no indication of any volcanoes or tectonic activity. That means the surface is very old, maybe as old as Callisto itself. It even has an atmosphere, but it’s a tad thin: roughly one one-hundred-billionth the pressure of Earth’s air at the surface! Callisto orbits Jupiter farthest out of the four biggies, almost 2 million km away. That’s too far to gravitationally interact with the other three; when I talk about the moons affecting each other, it’s really the other three interacting. Next up is Io. It’s only a little bit bigger than our own Moon, and orbits Jupiter so tightly it only takes about a day and a half to go around the planet. When the Voyager 1 space probe passed Io in 1979 it revealed a surface that was really weird. It was yellow and orange and red and black, and didn’t seem to have any obvious impact craters. An engineer, Linda Morabito, noticed that in one image there appeared to be what looked like another moon behind Io, partially eclipsed by it. But that was no moon: It was a volcano on Io erupting, its plume shooting up from the surface and opening up into a wide arc. Io is the most volcanic object in the entire solar system, with over 400 active volcanoes. Quite a few of them are erupting at any given time, and images taken even a few months apart show changes in the surface due to ejected material. A lot of the erupted material is rich in sulfur, which is why the surface has all those odd colors on it. The energy for all this activity comes from the other moons: As they pass Io in their orbits they flex it via tides, heating its interior through friction. A lot of that sulfur ends up as a very thin atmosphere around Io, and some of those sulfur atoms are then picked up by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field as it sweeps past Io and accelerates them to very high speeds. This has created a tremendous donut-shaped radiation belt around Jupiter, like Earth’s Van Allen belts, but far more powerful. The radiation there is so intense it would kill an unprotected human in minutes. Of course, if you’re floating in space near Jupiter unprotected, you might have some more immediate concerns. Oh, one more thing: Both Ganymede and Io are magnetically connected to Jupiter. Charged particles flow from those moons along the lines of magnetism to Jupiter, which then slams them down at Jupiter’s poles, just like the Earth does with the particles from the solar wind. On Earth this creates the aurorae, the northern and southern lights, and it does at Jupiter, too. You can even see the ultraviolet glow where each of the moons connects to Jupiter; their magnetic footprints in the planet’s atmosphere! And now we come to Europa, the smallest but perhaps most exciting of all the Galilean moons. Slightly smaller than our moon, it was known for decades to be very reflective, meaning its surface was probably loaded with water ice. But even so, the Voyager observations were shocking. They showed a surface completely lacking in craters, meaning something had resurfaced the moon like Io or Venus; but Europa has no volcanoes. Even more intriguing, the surface was covered in long cracks, dark streaks all over the moon, as well as complex ridges. These and other features appear to be due to material from the interior of Europa welling up and forming the new surface, kind of like the way lava does on Earth. But in this case, the material is water. It’s now thought that Europa has an entire ocean of water, sealed up under a solid crust of ice several kilometers thick. Water welling up and moving under the crust causes it to shift, creating all the various surface features. The amount of water that may be locked up on Europa is staggering; easily more than all the water in all the oceans on Earth! Like Ganymede and Io, the interior of Europa is kept warm by tidal flexing from the other moons, keeping the ice melted. Now get this: A lot of Europa’s material is silicate rock, like on Earth and other terrestrial planets, located in a layer under the ocean. If this interacts with the ocean in the same way Earth’s oceans interact with the sea floor, this could make the subsurface Europan water salty. In fact, those dark cracks on the surface have been found to be rich in salt and organic materials - in other words, carbon-based compounds! This is pretty exciting. We think Earth’s life originated in salty ocean water. If there are carbon-based molecules actually in Europa’s water, it’s not too crazy to wonder if the same spark that occurred here also happened there. We think Europa has everything it needs to spawn life. We just don’t have any direct evidence of it yet. Some people have proposed sending a space probe to Europa specifically to look for life. It would land near a crack in the ice, where the crust is thinner, and somehow penetrate it (perhaps melting its way down). Chemical sampling could then look for signs of biological activity. That’s amazing to me: The idea of life in Europa, even if it’s just microbial life, is taken very seriously by astrobiologists, scientists who study the possibility of life in space. It used to be science fiction. Now it’s a topic of scholarly research. Astronomers have a concept called the habitable zone: The distance a planet can be from its parent star where the temperature on the planet’s surface can support liquid water. It’s a fuzzy concept; Venus and Mars are both technically in the Sun’s habitable zone, but Venus is too hot and Mars too cold for liquid water. Atmospheres make a big difference. But it’s still a useful concept as rule of thumb for potential habitability. But Europa changed that. Jupiter is way, way outside the Sun’s habitable zone, yet there’s Europa, all wet. It’s a great example that we need to let our ideas breathe a bit sometimes, let them relax and flow outside the boundaries we set for them. When we look for signs of life on planets orbiting other stars, I bet we’ll have to keep our minds open to types of life we’ve never considered before. Those are just the four big moons of Jupiter, each thousands of kilometers across. They probably formed along with Jupiter, coalescing from the eddies and whorls around the protoJupiter as it formed billions of years ago. But the planet has dozens of other moons, too. About the only thing they all have in common is that they’re tidally locked to Jupiter; they all rotate once for every time they go around the planet. Jupiter’s tides are hundreds of times stronger than Earth’s, so no surprise there. The next biggest moon after The Big Four is way smaller; named Amalthea, it’s an irregular lump about 250 km across its longest dimension. It was discovered in 1892, and it’s red—probably polluted by sulfur from Io. It orbits just over 100,000 km from Jupiter’s cloudtops; if you stood on Amalthea’s surface, Jupiter would fill half the sky. The moons get smaller and more irregularly shaped from there, with Himalia and Thebe and Elara and Pasiphae, down to Hegemone, Kale, and Kallichore, which are no bigger than hills. Many of the irregular, distant moons of Jupiter orbit the planet backwards relative to the others, in what are called retrograde orbits. They may be captured asteroids from the nearby asteroid belt. Many of the moons have orbital characteristics that are very similar, too, which may indicate they were once a single object that broke up. Several such families of moons orbit Jupiter. The smallest moons we’ve seen are roughly a kilometer across. If they were sitting on Earth they might be hard to pedal up on a bicycle, but orbiting Jupiter they hardly rate as more than debris. There are probably thousands of moons the size of houses circling the planet, and who knows, maybe millions the size of tennis balls. Should we even call those moons? Maybe. But I don’t really worry about that kind of thing. The important thing to remember is that these are worlds, big and small, each fascinating, rich, and diverse. And there’s still a lot more left to explore about them. Today you learned that Jupiter has lots of moons, and four big ones. They’re mostly rock and ice, though Ganymede, the biggest, may have an iron core. Io is riddled with volcanoes, and Europa has an undersurface ocean that is the object of intense study for scientists looking for life in space. Io, Europa, and Ganymede are close enough to interact gravitationally, providing a source of heat for their interiors. There are lots and lots of littler moons, but at the moment we really don’t know much about them. Someday. Crash Course Astronomy is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios, and you can head over to their channel and find even more awesome videos. This episode was written by me, Phil Plait. The script was edited by Blake de Pastino, and our consultant is Dr. Michelle Thaller. It was directed by Nicholas Jenkins, edited by Nicole Sweeney, and the graphics team is Thought Café.



The first known natural satellite was the Moon, but it was considered a "planet" until Copernicus' introduction of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543. Until the discovery of the Galilean satellites in 1610 there was no opportunity for referring to such objects as a class. Galileo chose to refer to his discoveries as Planetæ ("planets"), but later discoverers chose other terms to distinguish them from the objects they orbited.[citation needed]

The first to use the term satellite to describe orbiting bodies was the German astronomer Johannes Kepler in his pamphlet Narratio de Observatis a se quatuor Iouis satellitibus erronibus ("Narration About Four Satellites of Jupiter Observed") in 1610. He derived the term from the Latin word satelles, meaning "guard", "attendant", or "companion", because the satellites accompanied their primary planet in their journey through the heavens.[4]

The term satellite thus became the normal one for referring to an object orbiting a planet, as it avoided the ambiguity of "moon". In 1957, however, the launching of the artificial object Sputnik created a need for new terminology.[4] The terms man-made satellite and artificial moon were very quickly abandoned in favor of the simpler satellite, and as a consequence, the term has become linked primarily with artificial objects flown in space – including, sometimes, even those not in orbit around a planet.[citation needed]

Because of this shift in meaning, the term moon, which had continued to be used in a generic sense in works of popular science and in fiction, has regained respectability and is now used interchangeably with natural satellite, even in scientific articles. When it is necessary to avoid both the ambiguity of confusion with Earth's natural satellite the Moon and the natural satellites of the other planets on the one hand, and artificial satellites on the other, the term natural satellite (using "natural" in a sense opposed to "artificial") is used. To further avoid ambiguity, the convention is to capitalize the word Moon when referring to Earth's natural satellite, but not when referring to other natural satellites.

Many authors define "satellite" or "natural satellite" as orbiting some planet or minor planet, synonymous with "moon" – by such a definition all natural satellites are moons, but Earth and other planets are not satellites.[5][6][7] A few recent authors define "moon" as "a satellite of a planet or minor planet", and "planet" as "a satellite of a star" – such authors consider Earth as a "natural satellite of the Sun".[8][9][10]

Definition of a moon

Size comparison of Earth and the Moon
Size comparison of Earth and the Moon

There is no established lower limit on what is considered a "moon". Every natural celestial body with an identified orbit around a planet of the Solar System, some as small as a kilometer across, has been considered a moon, though objects a tenth that size within Saturn's rings, which have not been directly observed, have been called moonlets. Small asteroid moons (natural satellites of asteroids), such as Dactyl, have also been called moonlets.[11]

The upper limit is also vague. Two orbiting bodies are sometimes described as a double planet rather than primary and satellite. Asteroids such as 90 Antiope are considered double asteroids, but they have not forced a clear definition of what constitutes a moon. Some authors consider the Pluto–Charon system to be a double (dwarf) planet. The most common[citation needed] dividing line on what is considered a moon rests upon whether the barycentre is below the surface of the larger body, though this is somewhat arbitrary, because it depends on distance as well as relative mass.

Origin and orbital characteristics

Two moons: Saturn's natural satellite Dione occults Enceladus
Two moons: Saturn's natural satellite Dione occults Enceladus

The natural satellites orbiting relatively close to the planet on prograde, uninclined circular orbits (regular satellites) are generally thought to have been formed out of the same collapsing region of the protoplanetary disk that created its primary.[12][13] In contrast, irregular satellites (generally orbiting on distant, inclined, eccentric and/or retrograde orbits) are thought to be captured asteroids possibly further fragmented by collisions. Most of the major natural satellites of the Solar System have regular orbits, while most of the small natural satellites have irregular orbits.[14] The Moon[15] and possibly Charon[16] are exceptions among large bodies in that they are thought to have originated by the collision of two large proto-planetary objects (see the giant impact hypothesis). The material that would have been placed in orbit around the central body is predicted to have reaccreted to form one or more orbiting natural satellites. As opposed to planetary-sized bodies, asteroid moons are thought to commonly form by this process. Triton is another exception; although large and in a close, circular orbit, its motion is retrograde and it is thought to be a captured dwarf planet.

Temporary satellites

The capture of an asteroid from a heliocentric orbit is not always permanent. According to simulations, temporary satellites should be a common phenomenon.[17][18] The only observed example is 2006 RH120, which was a temporary satellite of Earth for nine months in 2006 and 2007.[19][20]

Tidal locking

Most regular moons (natural satellites following relatively close and prograde orbits with small orbital inclination and eccentricity) in the Solar System are tidally locked to their respective primaries, meaning that the same side of the natural satellite always faces its planet. The only known exception is Saturn's natural satellite Hyperion, which rotates chaotically because of the gravitational influence of Titan.

In contrast, the outer natural satellites of the giant planets (irregular satellites) are too far away to have become locked. For example, Jupiter's Himalia, Saturn's Phoebe, and Neptune's Nereid have rotation periods in the range of ten hours, whereas their orbital periods are hundreds of days.

Satellites of satellites

Artist impression of Rhea's proposed rings
Artist impression of Rhea's proposed rings

No "moons of moons" or subsatellites (natural satellites that orbit a natural satellite of a planet) are currently known as of 2019. In most cases, the tidal effects of the planet would make such a system unstable.

However, calculations performed after the recent detection[21] of a possible ring system around Saturn's moon Rhea indicate that satellites orbiting Rhea could have stable orbits. Furthermore, the suspected rings are thought to be narrow,[22] a phenomenon normally associated with shepherd moons. However, targeted images taken by the Cassini spacecraft failed to detect rings around Rhea.[23]

It has also been proposed that Saturn's moon Iapetus had a satellite in the past; this is one of several hypotheses that have been put forward to account for its equatorial ridge.[24]

Trojan satellites

Two natural satellites are known to have small companions at both their L4 and L5 Lagrangian points, sixty degrees ahead and behind the body in its orbit. These companions are called trojan moons, as their orbits are analogous to the trojan asteroids of Jupiter. The trojan moons are Telesto and Calypso, which are the leading and following companions, respectively, of the Saturnian moon Tethys; and Helene and Polydeuces, the leading and following companions of the Saturnian moon Dione.

Asteroid satellites

The discovery of 243 Ida's natural satellite Dactyl in the early 1990s confirmed that some asteroids have natural satellites; indeed, 87 Sylvia has two. Some, such as 90 Antiope, are double asteroids with two comparably sized components.


The relative masses of the natural satellites of the Solar System. Mimas, Enceladus, and Miranda are too small to be visible at this scale. All the irregularly shaped natural satellites, even added together, would also be too small to be visible.
The relative masses of the natural satellites of the Solar System. Mimas, Enceladus, and Miranda are too small to be visible at this scale. All the irregularly shaped natural satellites, even added together, would also be too small to be visible.

Neptune's moon Proteus is the largest irregularly shaped natural satellite. All other known natural satellites that are at least the size of Uranus's Miranda have lapsed into rounded ellipsoids under hydrostatic equilibrium, i.e. are "round/rounded satellites". The larger natural satellites, being tidally locked, tend toward ovoid (egg-like) shapes: squat at their poles and with longer equatorial axes in the direction of their primaries (their planets) than in the direction of their motion. Saturn's moon Mimas, for example, has a major axis 9% greater than its polar axis and 5% greater than its other equatorial axis. Methone, another of Saturn's moons, is only around 3 km in diameter and visibly egg-shaped. The effect is smaller on the largest natural satellites, where their own gravity is greater relative to the effects of tidal distortion, especially those that orbit less massive planets or, as in the case of the Moon, at greater distances.

Name Satellite of Difference in axes
% of mean
Mimas Saturn 33.4 (20.4 / 13.0) 8.4 (5.1 / 3.3)
Enceladus Saturn 16.6 3.3
Miranda Uranus 14.2 3.0
Tethys Saturn 25.8 2.4
Io Jupiter 29.4 0.8
The Moon Earth 4.3 0.1

Geological activity

Of the nineteen known natural satellites in the Solar System that are large enough to have lapsed into hydrostatic equilibrium, several remain geologically active today. Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, while Europa, Enceladus, Titan and Triton display evidence of ongoing tectonic activity and cryovolcanism. In the first three cases, the geological activity is powered by the tidal heating resulting from having eccentric orbits close to their giant-planet primaries. (This mechanism would have also operated on Triton in the past, before its orbit was circularized.) Many other natural satellites, such as Earth's Moon, Ganymede, Tethys and Miranda, show evidence of past geological activity, resulting from energy sources such as the decay of their primordial radioisotopes, greater past orbital eccentricities (due in some cases to past orbital resonances), or the differentiation or freezing of their interiors. Enceladus and Triton both have active features resembling geysers, although in the case of Triton solar heating appears to provide the energy. Titan and Triton have significant atmospheres; Titan also has hydrocarbon lakes. Four of the largest natural satellites, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, and Titan, are thought to have subsurface oceans of liquid water, while smaller Enceladus may have localized subsurface liquid water.

Natural satellites of the Solar System

Euler diagram showing the types of bodies in the Solar System.
Euler diagram showing the types of bodies in the Solar System.

Of the objects within our Solar System known to have natural satellites, there are 76 in the asteroid belt (five with two each), four Jupiter trojans, 39 near-Earth objects (two with two satellites each), and 14 Mars-crossers.[2] There are also 84 known natural satellites of trans-Neptunian objects.[2] Some 150 additional small bodies have been observed within the rings of Saturn, but only a few were tracked long enough to establish orbits. Planets around other stars are likely to have satellites as well, and although numerous candidates have been detected to date, none have yet been confirmed.

Of the inner planets, Mercury and Venus have no natural satellites; Earth has one large natural satellite, known as the Moon; and Mars has two tiny natural satellites, Phobos and Deimos. The giant planets have extensive systems of natural satellites, including half a dozen comparable in size to Earth's Moon: the four Galilean moons, Saturn's Titan, and Neptune's Triton. Saturn has an additional six mid-sized natural satellites massive enough to have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium, and Uranus has five. It has been suggested that some satellites may potentially harbour life.[25]

Among the identified dwarf planets, Ceres has no known natural satellites. Pluto has the relatively large natural satellite Charon and four smaller natural satellites; Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra.[26] Haumea has two natural satellites, and Eris and Makemake have one each. The Pluto–Charon system is unusual in that the center of mass lies in open space between the two, a characteristic sometimes associated with a double-planet system.

The seven largest natural satellites in the Solar System (those bigger than 2,500 km across) are Jupiter's Galilean moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa), Saturn's moon Titan, Earth's moon, and Neptune's captured natural satellite Triton. Triton, the smallest of these, has more mass than all smaller natural satellites together. Similarly in the next size group of nine mid-sized natural satellites, between 1,000 km and 1,600 km across, Titania, Oberon, Rhea, Iapetus, Charon, Ariel, Umbriel, Dione, and Tethys, the smallest, Tethys, has more mass than all smaller natural satellites together. As well as the natural satellites of the various planets, there are also over 80 known natural satellites of the dwarf planets, minor planets and other small Solar System bodies. Some studies estimate that up to 15% of all trans-Neptunian objects could have satellites.

The following is a comparative table classifying the natural satellites in the Solar System by diameter. The column on the right includes some notable planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects for comparison. The natural satellites of the planets are named after mythological figures. These are predominantly Greek, except for the Uranian natural satellites, which are named after Shakespearean characters. The nineteen bodies massive enough to have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium are in bold in the table below. Minor planets and satellites suspected but not proven to have achieved a hydrostatic equilibrium are italicized in the table below.

Satellites of planets Satellites of dwarf planets Satellites of
minor planets
for comparison
Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Makemake Haumea Eris
4,000–6,000 Ganymede
Titan Mercury
3,000–4,000 Moon Io
2,000–3,000 Triton Eris
1,000–2,000 Rhea
Charon Makemake
2007 OR10,
500–1,000 Enceladus Dysnomia Sedna, Ceres,
Salacia, Orcus,
Pallas, Vesta
many more TNOs
250–500 Mimas
Miranda Proteus
Hiʻiaka Orcus I Vanth
Salacia I Actaea
10 Hygiea
704 Interamnia
87 Sylvia
and many others
100–250 Amalthea
S/2015 (136472) 1 Namaka S/2005 (82075) 1
Sila–Nunam I
Ceto I Phorcys
Patroclus I Menoetius
~21 more moons of TNOs
3 Juno
15760 Albion
5 Astraea
42355 Typhon
and many others
50–100 Elara
Quaoar I Weywot
90 Antiope I
Typhon I Echidna
Logos I Zoe
5 more moons of TNOs
90 Antiope
58534 Logos
253 Mathilde
and many others
25–50 Carme
Kalliope I Linus 1036 Ganymed
243 Ida
and many others
10–25 Phobos
762 Pulcova I
Sylvia I Romulus
624 Hektor I Skamandrios
Eugenia I Petit-Prince
121 Hermione I
283 Emma I
1313 Berna I
107 Camilla I
433 Eros
1313 Berna
and many others
< 10 63 moons 56 moons Sylvia II Remus
Ida I Dactyl
and many others

Visual summary

Solar System moons
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Earth)
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Neptune)
(moon of Uranus)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Uranus)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Pluto)
(moon of Uranus)
(moon of Uranus)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Uranus)
(moon of Neptune)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Jupiter)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Pluto)
(moon of Pluto)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Mars)
(moon of Mars)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Saturn)
(moon of Ida)

See also

Moons of planets

Moons of dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies


  1. ^ "Planet and Satellite Names and Discoverers". International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Wm. Robert Johnston (30 September 2018). "Asteroids with Satellites". Johnston's Archive. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  3. ^ Glenday, Craig (2014). Guinness World Records 2014. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-908843-15-9.
  4. ^ a b "Early History – First Satellites". Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  5. ^ Kenneth R. Lang. "The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System". 2011. p. 15. quote: "Any object that orbits a planet is now called a satellite, and a natural satellite is also now called a moon."
  6. ^ Therese Encrenaz, et. al. "The Solar System". 2004. p. 30.
  7. ^ Tilman Spohn, Doris Breuer, Torrence Johnson. "Encyclopedia of the Solar System". 2014. p. 18.
  8. ^ David Andrew Weintraub. "Is Pluto a Planet?: A Historical Journey Through the Solar System". p. 65 quote: "... the general concept of a "moon" as a satellite of a planet and "planet" as a satellite of a star."
  9. ^ "Satellite". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  10. ^ Stillman, Dan (16 June 2015). "What Is a Satellite?". NASA. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  11. ^ F. Marchis, et al. (2005). "Discovery of the triple asteroidal system 87 Sylvia". Nature. 436 (7052): 822–24. Bibcode:2005Natur.436..822M. doi:10.1038/nature04018. PMID 16094362.
  12. ^ Canup, Robin M.; Ward, William R. (30 December 2008). Origin of Europa and the Galilean Satellites. University of Arizona Press. p. 59. arXiv:0812.4995. ISBN 978-0-8165-2844-8.
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External links

All moons

Jupiter's moons

Saturn's moons

This page was last edited on 8 October 2019, at 10:51
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