Solar System Moon Facts

Jupiter Moon Ploonet
Jupiter And Galilean moons. Courtesy of NASA/JPL/DLR - NASA planetary photojournal, borders removed by Daniel Arnold NASA planetary photojournal, PIA00600

In this article, we will be discussing some facts about moons of the solar system, including the number of moons each planet has, the naming convention for the planetary body moons, and which planet reigns supreme as current moon champion! Come learn some interesting facts and start your adventure of the solar system moons!

When looking at the solar system moons through a telescope, the only planets that one will be able to see through a telescope will be the Galilean moons of Jupiter and 6 moons of Saturn if under dark skies. In dark skies, using a 6 inch telescope, one could see the moons Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, and Mimas.

Number Of Moons

PlanetNumber Of Moons
Table Showing The Number Of Moons

However, it is worth noting that just because Saturn has more total number of moons, that doesn’t mean that its moons are the largest.

Moon Planet Mean
Diameter In Kilometers
Orbital Period In Day
Ganymede Jupiter 5262 7.155
Titan Saturn 5150 15.945
Callisto Jupiter 4821 16.689
Io Jupiter 3643 1.769
Moon Earth 3475 27.322
Europa Jupiter 3122 3.551
Triton Neptune 2707 5.877
Titania Uranus 1578 8.706
Rhea Saturn 1529 4.518
Oberon Uranus 1523 13.463

Naming Conventions

As Mercury and Venus have no moons, there is no naming convention. The name of the Earth’s moon is just typically called, “The Moon” with no specific interesting naming history.

The two Mars moons are named after the Greek mythological twin characters Phobos and Deimos who accompanied their father Ares into battle. Phobos means Panic or fear in Greek while Deimos means terror or dread. This does make sense since the planet Mars is named after the God of War.

Jupiter’s four largest moons are called the Galilean satellites after Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who first observed them in 1610. Of the 79 moons, 53 of which are named. It has been typical to use roman numerals to name the different moons, except for the Galilean moons.

Saturn has fifty-three moons which are confirmed and named, with another 29 moons are awaiting confirmation of discovery and official naming. The modern names for Saturnian moons were suggested by John Herschel in 1847 as he proposed to name them after mythological figures associated with the Roman titan of time. This meant that the then known seven satellites were named after Titans, Titanesses and Giants.In 1848, Lassell proposed that the eighth satellite of Saturn be named Hyperion after another Titan. When in the 20th century the names of Titans were exhausted, the moons were named after different characters of the Greco-Roman mythology or giants from other mythologies. All the irregular moons (except Phoebe) are named after Inuit and Gallic gods and after Norse ice giants

The moons of planet Neptune was named for the Roman god of the sea; therefore, the moons were named for various lesser sea gods and nymphs in Greek mythology.

The moons of Uranus are named after characters from Shakespeare, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest.

Check out the Planetary Bodies Category for previous and upcoming articles on the solar system planets. NASA has a great reference for planetary moons.

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