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Questions tagged [natural-satellites]

Questions on celestial bodies that orbit planets.

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12 views

What do you call it when a satellite goes once around its planet?

When a planet or a satellite turns around itself, its called a rotation. When a planet goes once around the Sun, it's called a revolution. What do you call it when a satellite goes once around its ...
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118 views

Tallest cliffs, by falling duration

If you threw something over a certain cliff on a moon of Uranus, it would take over ten minutes to hit bottom. By this measure, local fall time rather than absolute height, what are the near ...
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146 views

Could a Jovian or Saturnian moon keep its atmosphere if the system was within the habitable zone?

Currently the atmosphere of Titan is 1.5x thicker than Earth's atmosphere, but it's also much much colder. It's been said that an astronomical body can keep it's atmosphere if the escape velocity is ...
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Why does Titan have an atmosphere while similar moons such as the Galilean moons don't?

The Galilean moons of Jupiter are similar in size to Titan and are also protected by their parent planet's magnetic field. How come only Titan is able to maintain an atmosphere?
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When was it realised that most major moons orbit in the equatorial plane of their parent planets?

Inspired by the discussion of the moons of Uranus providing a clue to the planet's axis of rotation in this question, I'm wondering when it was realised that the major satellites are typically located ...
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Speed of Moonrise relative to fixed point on ground

Due to the curvature of the earth, and the way the moon interacts with the atmosphere (especially close to the horizon), is there a known function that describes the speed of the moon relative to its ...
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1answer
118 views

How do a planet's moons and a planet's rings interact?

I am making a video game which features a planet and its moon. And I thought I would add rings too. But that got me wondering... how do a planet's moon and a planet's ring influence each other? Does ...
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1answer
212 views

Are all satellites thought to be the result of collisions with the planets?

The leading hypothesis for how the Moon was formed was that another object collided with the Earth, throwing off a large lump of matter which formed into the moon. Is this thought to be the case with ...
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134 views

What orbit is the smallest or takes the least time to complete?

What orbit in our solar system would take the least time to perform 1 orbit? What is the fastest possible orbit to complete in the universe?
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61 views

Various moon orbits

Orbits can follow certain patterns, as I am aware. Some include a circular orbit around the bulk of the planet, a polar orbit spinning about the pole... What I'd like to know, for a planet with two ...
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1answer
266 views

Why do planets and satellites in the Solar system look so wildly different if they came from more or less the same matter?

First, the planets. We have Mercury, which is rocky, no atmosphere. But then we have Venus, which is completely different: thick atmosphere, very hot, geologically active. Then Earth - blue, full of ...
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Could there be additional Neptunian satellites between Larissa and Hippocamp?

Plotting the moons of Neptune in terms of semimajor axis and eccentricity using the values given on the Wikipedia page for the moons of Neptune, there appears to be a fairly large gap between the ...
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Is there any known moon of a moon? [duplicate]

As far as I understand, a moon is an object in permanent orbit around a planet, dwarf-planet, asteroid, etc. If there was another object permanently orbiting this moon, would that be a moon-moon? Is ...
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71 views

How was Cruithne's orbital time calculated?

How was it determined that Cruithne takes 770 years to complete its cycle with Earth? Janus and Epimetheus were disovered long enough ago, and have short enough cycle times, that we've had time to ...
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1answer
2k views

Which Saturn satellite passes closest to Saturn's rings and at what distance?

I was using Stellarium to watch Saturn from its moon Pan and I saw the rings were very close to this moon. Now Saturn's rings extend for a large distance so several moons see them from close. I was ...
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153 views

What variables are needed to calculate simple horseshoe orbit times?

EDIT This was NOT a duplicate of Horseshoe orbit cycle times. But that other question has been deleted, regardless. My original question asked for the answer to the equation(s), and provides many of ...
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220 views

Why is Uranus able to support a regular satellite system?

Uranus has an obliquity of 98° which means that the mutual inclination between a satellite orbiting in its equatorial plane and the orbit of Uranus around the Sun would exceed the critical angle for ...
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171 views

How long is a “lunar month” in Jupiter?

For Earth, the lunar month is well known. But Earth has only one moon. But on Jupiter, how long does it takes for the same moon configuration to appear in the "sky" of the planet? For the sake of ...
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69 views

How do they measure sub-centimeter wave height on a moon of Saturn?

Michael Stevens from V-Sauce has a video called The Mandelbrot Set on a different channel. At 12:56 he says: There’s a moon of Saturn that has liquid hydrocarbon ...
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93 views

Can a moon have a moon? [duplicate]

Is it possible for a natural moon to have a natural moon? What is the limit to when satellites on satellites becomes to unnatural for it to be possible?
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Moons of migrated giant planets: Icy, Rocky, or none at all?

My understanding is that gas and ice giants form outside the "snow line" of their protoplanetary disk, then sometimes through gravitational interactions they are able to migrate into the inner star ...
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213 views

Natural satellites for Mercury

Would it be possible that Mercury had a natural satellite but the gravitational pull from the Sun became so overwhelming from it growing over the years that it just sucked in Mercury's moon?
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337 views

How many moons in the solar system have water?

I've heard of a few moons in the solar system that have water, like europa and enceladus. However, I can't find information about whether there are other moons as well. I'm guessing there are more, ...
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1answer
177 views

Is there enough light to grow plants in the ocean of Europa?

What is the underwater temperature of Europa? I know Jupiter emits infrared light but does it emit any light able to support plant life of any type on near by Moons? Can under water volcanic activity ...
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Why haven't more captured small moons been found?

Shouldn't captured moons have the same size distribution as asteroids? And asteroids are more common the smaller size they are. Moons are likely captured if they are in highly inclined orbits, and ...
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226 views

What is the minimum size to be a natural satellite?

Would a smaller satellite be more stable around a smaller planet where the same satellite would not be stable or last around a larger planet? I added the picture to show how moon size planets can ...
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103 views

Could a moon be passed from one planet's orbit to another?

Like if you had two planets that had a close orbital path could the moon be pulled away from the first planet?
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54 views

How far from the Sun can an Earth TCO (temporarily captured orbiter) go after leaving?

Objects which are temporarily captured into an Earth-Moon system orbit (temporarily captured orbiters or TCOs) by definition will leave this orbit. While the term suggest an Earth orbit, it's really ...
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1answer
68 views

Why are gravitational perturbations stronger at larger semi-major axes?

Why are mechanisms such as the Kozai-Lidov effect more prominent at at large semi-major axes? If we had a binary system of a primary and secondary body, with the third perturber as the Sun. Why is it ...
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543 views

What is minimal aperture/magnification to recognize phases of Galilean moons?

Given you take a (non-amateur) refractor telescope, what are aperture and magnification required to recognize phases of the four Galilean moons? What did Galileo see: http://www.astro.umontreal.ca/~...
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143 views

Is it possible for a planet to have multiple moons in a nearly stationary orbit?

I have done a lot of searching online and while I have been able to find out that theoretically a moon could exist in a near-synchronous/stationary orbit, I am wondering if it is possible for multiple ...
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2k views

Would an analogue of the definition for planets also work for moons?

This is a follow up question to What exactly is a "moon"? The conclusions I draw from James K's answer is that the IAU should define what a moon is. They haven't done so yet, but they should. The ...
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317 views

What exactly is a “moon”?

Recently some new moons of Jupiter were discovered. However the moons are pretty damn small indeed - only a few kilometers wide. That makes me wonder if they should even be called moons in the first ...
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1answer
231 views

How did “oddball” Valetudo, Jupiter's new prograde moon, end up in a wider orbit?

I just saw this question and that got me to this NASA page which led me to this scientific article. “Our other discovery is a real oddball and has an orbit like no other known Jovian moon,” ...
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3k views

Did we discover 10 or 12 new moons of Jupiter?

I saw multiple news sites reporting that a team discovered 12 new Jupiter's moons: c|net - Twelve new Jupiter moons found, including one reckless one Discover - Jupiter’s Got Twelve New Moons — One ...
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1answer
124 views

Changes of the velocity of the Moon due to impacts from other objects?

Has the moon’s velocity changed since ‘shortly’ after it’s formation due to impacts? Wouldn't it be likely that a significant collision would have occurred over such a long period of time? It ...
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1answer
81 views

Number of planets in a habitable zone with large moons [closed]

Excluding gas giants, roughly what percentage of planets in the habitable zones of their stars would have large moons like Earth does, as opposed to Mars and its small moons/captured asteroids?
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141 views

Say we were to bring Titan to Earth's orbit. How much would its atmospheric pressure change?

I've heard one of the reason why Titan has such a thick atmosphere is because of its really low temperature. So say that were were to magically bring Titan to the Same orbit as Earth, and the moon ...
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2answers
91 views

Can a planet's gravity rip out its moon's atmosphere?

We all know that solar flares can rip a planet's atmosphere if the magnetic field is weak.Solar flares travel at tremendous speed so when they hit the gas molecules of a atmosphere the molecules are ...
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1answer
285 views

Is there a significant temperature difference on the moon from apogee to perigee or vice-versa?

Do those few thousand kilometers of difference going around the earth significantly affect the amount of thermal energy the moon receives from the sun to warm up its surface? Also, are there more ...
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1answer
127 views

How can a rotation period of a planet's satellite/moon be “chaotic” (like Hyperion around Saturn)?

According to wikipedia (see info below image) Hyperion's rotation period around Saturn is "chaotic". What does that mean? The period (in days/hours) is different every rotation without any law ...
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1answer
60 views

New NEOs are found daily. Is there any evidence gravity is pulling them to a centralised location?

With all of the new NEOs (near-earth objects) are they being pulled in or are they interacting with each other?
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1answer
102 views

How old are Janus and Epimetheus?

How old are Janus and Epimetheus, and are they believed to have formed out of a collision? (I think would explain their shared orbit). Not the age of their elements, which should be similar to the ...
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122 views

horseshoe orbits

I'm designing a moon system for a fictional setting, and recently came across the idea of horseshoe orbits. The gist of my question is how many objects can share a horseshoe orbital at a time? I ...
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1answer
75 views

Do the number of moons a planet has affect the speed of the planet's rotation?

Would the tidal forces of multiple moons interacting upon a planet speed up or slow down the day length of the planet? I was thinking that maybe the planet's day length would be slowed down due to all ...
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145 views

How do I calculate the hour angle of a planet's moon from a point on that planet's surface?

I'm worldbuilding and I'm trying to construct a standing stone calendar that'll accurately denote where to look for my planet's moon at its four major phases from 53.8 degrees South. So, I need the h0,...
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538 views

How can tidal heating lower Io's orbit?

This answer to the question Is Io a magic energy machine? suggests that the energy from the internal heating of Io due to tidal "squishing" as it moves cyclically closer and farther from Jupiter in ...
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2answers
330 views

Which moon has a scar as if it was torn in half and put back together?

When I was a kid I had several beautiful encyclopedias. In one of them there was a description of moon orbiting on of the gas giants that had huge ripples all along its surface. It said in the text ...
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1answer
64 views

Is it possible for a moon to only be out at night?

(For the sake of this question, let's assume that all other factors are malleable.) Essentially creating a permanent lunar eclipse, could a moon orbit around a planet so slowly that it is always ...
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2answers
329 views

Eventual outcome of tidal acceleration and deceleration

So, I know the Moon experiences tidal acceleration from the Earth. And, from what I've read, if not for the fact that the sun would boil away the oceans and engulf both of them first, about 50 billion ...