When we look up at the sky, we only see our one friendly neighborhood moon, but did you know our solar system actually holds over 200 traditional moons? Not only that, but the number is continuously growing over the years. What’s interesting is that the distribution of these moons is less scattered than you may believe. We’ve boiled down a list of fun facts about the many moons in relation to the planets they orbit to help you gain more knowledge about our solar system:
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, sitting 36 million miles away. It is also the smallest planet in our solar system. Due to its small size and close proximity to the sun, it is believed that it does not hold a strong enough gravitation field for anything to orbit around it. This is why Mercury has 0 moons in its orbit.
Venus is the second closest planet to the sun. Therefore, like Mercury, Venus also holds no moon it’s orbit. There is a fascinating theory that states that the Earth’s gravitational pull actually captured Venus’s old moon. This is just a theory and has not been proven but is quite an interesting thing to think about the next time you look up at the moon.
The Earth has just 1 moon. Whether this moon used to once be Venus’s or whether it is a result of a collision Earth had millions of years ago is still a mystery. It is the Earth’s only natural satellite and is believed to play a big role in the Earth’s climate due to its gravitational impact on the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere.
Mars has two moons, Phoebe and Deimos. Deimos is the smallest moon in the solar system as its radius is only 6.2 kilometers. Phoebe is much larger, with a radius of 106.5 kilometres. It is believed that the two moons are a result of an asteroid collision with Mars.
So far we have only mentioned 3 moons in total. You’re probably wondering, where are the remaining 200-plus moons? Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and holds a total of 95 traditional moons due to its extremely strong gravitational pull. I know, what a jump!
According to the International Astronomical Union, Saturn has up to 145 moons. Like Jupiter, Saturn also has an immensely strong gravitational pull which is why it holds over a hundred moons. Given that Saturn has a ring with billions of rocks, it is difficult to determine the exact number of moons surrounding its orbit.
Uranus has a total of 27 moons, 5 of which are considered major moons. The remaining 22 moons are divided into two segments, inner moons and irregular moons. There are 13 inner moons and 9 irregular moons. Did you know that most of these moons have been named after characters written by Shakespeare or Alexander Pope?
Neptune has 14 moons. After Jupiter and Saturn this may seem like a small number but is still quite a few in comparison to the Earth. Fun fact, Neptune (also known as Posiden in Greek mythology) is the name of a Roman God of the seas. Therefore the 14 moons that orbit the planet are named after different sea gods and nymphs in Greek and Roman mythology! How cool is that?
Lastly, although Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet, it is still in our solar system and will never be forgotten! Pluto and the 8 other dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt share a total of 9 moons amongst each other.
In conclusion, we hope you’ve relished the journey into the fascinating world of the moons in our solar system. These celestial companions exhibit an astonishing diversity and complexity, each weaving its own unique narrative through the cosmos. Whether it’s the enchanting rings of Saturn, the captivating mythology of Neptune, or the enigmatic allure of Pluto, these moons offer an inexhaustible source of wonder.
Moreover, as you gaze upon the night sky, ponder the mysteries that defy current scientific logic and remember that you share this vast and wondrous universe with hundreds of other worlds. The moons are but a glimpse into the cosmic tapestry waiting to be explored. Thank you for joining us on this celestial adventure, and stay tuned for more captivating topics that continue to unravel the mysteries of our universe!