Questions tagged [natural-satellites]

Questions on celestial bodies that orbit planets.

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2
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1answer
136 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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163 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
85 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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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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812 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
405 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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180 views

What would theoretically be dissolved in the interior oceans of icy moons and planets?

I know we have some indication of "what's in the water" from the plumes of Enceladus, but would other places be the same. For instance, could the deep liquid water of Titan contain dissolved ...
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70 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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419 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 ...
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123 views

What is the official term for a relationship between a planet and its moons?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, I could not find anything naming this in my astronomy books, and Google searches only seemed to show me pages about astrology, [sarc] because naturally, human ...
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528 views

When will the next series of mutual eclipses of Jupiter's moons begin?

When I was young (I won't tell you when) I saw one of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter suddenly disappear while watching through a small refractor. It wasn't a coincidence, I'd seen the prediction ...
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204 views

Is it possible that a satellite creates a forever eclipse? [closed]

So, to add a bit of context, I’m doing the NaNoWriMo challenge, which consists of writing a novel of 50k words in one month. My whole idea is based around the following question: What would happen if ...
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127 views

Could a binary system of two planets with oceans reflect each other?

If there were two earth-like planets in a binary system and one of them had landmasses, and the other one had oceans covering a significant amount of its surface, could you see the continents of the ...
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702 views

Why is Enceladus the only geologically active moon among its neighbours?

My understanding of why Enceladus is geologically active is that tidal forces from Saturn and - to a lesser extent - from the nearby larger moon Dione provide heat to the moon's interior, just like ...
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794 views

Could a moon orbit two planets at once?

Let's say you had a binary planet system of two earth-sized worlds with about the same mass. Could a stable moon orbit around the barycenter of both planets? If so, is there a limit to the mass of ...
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328 views

Could binary gas giants have ring and moon systems?

Would any moons/rings around either of the gas giants stay intact or get ripped apart by the tidal forces between the two giants? If any moons/rings are able to form around either of the giants, is ...
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41 views

If the moon's orbit decays- how would it effect the moon's phases? [closed]

If a planet passed near the moon and caused its orbit to decay down to earth- how long could it take and how would that effect the visible phases of the moon on earth?
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275 views

Io: Why so much sulfur?

Io is the only body in the Solar System whose crust is dominated by sulfur and its compounds. Carbon and nitrogen are also very common in the universe but we don't see them or their compounds in Io's ...
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Is there a timekeeping word for the orbit of a moon?

For a planet, we can colloquially refer to its period of rotation as a "day" and its period of revolution around its parent star as a "year." Some worlds have unique terms, such as Martian days being ...
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117 views

What of the following moon-situations would be better?

Okay, so imagine that there is an Earth-like planet, with the following conditions: It's further from it's sun than the Earth is from the Sun (not much, but enough for weather to be a little colder ...
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248 views

If I had a horseshoe orbit of two moons…

Consider an Earth-like planet, with two moons. I guess the two moons would have to be smaller than our own, for the system to be stable. Is that stable? I did some research, and apparently Janus and ...
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250 views

Wondering about a horseshoe orbit

Since I'm not a physicist, I want to know how that system works. For instance, if there was a planet, very similar to the Earth, but with two moons, and the moons where in a horseshoe orbit, how does ...
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232 views

Could the Moon naturally capture a large asteroid and keep it as a subsatellite? For how long?

(Edited at James K's recommendation to stay on-topic for this SE.) From my reading on this SE and from Googling I've gotten conflicting reports on the viability of subsatellites this close to the Sun,...
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Angles in Moon, Earth and Sun system

Consider the vector positions of the center of mass of Moon, Sun and Earth, $\vec{r}_{\rm M}$, $\vec{r}_{\rm S}$, $\vec{r}_{\rm E}$, respectively, in a given reference frame. Consider: the angle ...
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What colours can rocky planets (or moons) have

I am currently working on a simple program to randomly generate and display rocky exoplanets (for a space based strategy game), but I am having some problems figuring out what colour the rocks of ...
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580 views

So is there nothing like satellite anymore?

I just read this article. I don't know how credible it is, since I couldn't find any link to the original paper. But it says that pluto will be considered a planet again, along with more than 100 ...
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873 views

Why do Uranus' and Pluto's moons orbit the equator? What makes a moons' inclination tilt with the rotational axis of their planet?

Uranus and Pluto have their axes of rotation almost 90 degrees towards the ecliptic. But why do their moons tilt the same way? Does it mean that their tilts were caused by passing near some external ...
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281 views

Can the Moon provide momentum to an object in Earth's orbit? Gravity Assisted Boost [closed]

Can a satellite maintain an equatorial orbit around Earth near the Moon's orbit to receive partial gravitational boosts by gaining momentum as the satellite passes though the Moon's gravity well? I'...
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373 views

Which celestial object in the solar system has the fastest tangential velocity at its surface?

Consider all of the naturally-occurring objects in the solar system : in the reference frame of the object's center (ie, ignoring the orbital velocity around the sun or, in the case of satellites, ...
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1k views

How do we know that a natural satellite cannot be a hollow object?

In their 1966 book, Intelligent Life in the Universe, Carl Sagan and Iosif Shklovsky state that "a natural satellite cannot be a hollow object." How do we know this is absolutely true?
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I think I saw a satellite disappear? or was it a star?

so i was gazing out of my balcony randomly and all of a sudden this red light moves across above, initial thought was that it was a star but it didn't blink, second thoughts was maybe a planet but it ...
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Could a moon of a mini-neptune around a red dwarf harbour life?

I am planning a game where on could control evolution on an alien world. I was thinking red dwarf as per here Habitable Planet around Red Dwarf To my understanding three questions arise: Tidal lock ...
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185 views

How would a small TCO (temporarily captured orbiter) or other natural Earth satellite most likely be detected?

A sentence from the abstract of The population of natural Earth satellites states: At any given time there should be at least one NES of 1-meter diameter orbiting the Earth. The average temporarily-...
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195 views

How massive must a rocky body be to liquify adequately to eliminate internal mass concentrations that could disrupt natural satellite orbits?

Maybe a slightly weird question, and maybe more appropriate for some future geophysics SE, but I feel like this is what questions like Do moons have moons? are really driving at, and it just almost ...
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108 views

If a captured moon has prograde, circular and equatorial orbit, can we know it is captured?

As we know, Triton has retrograde orbit , which is an stong evidence it is captured by Neptune. Suppose if a moon is captured, but results in prograde orbit, and the orbit becomes circular and lies on ...
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1answer
217 views

More than 67 Jovian moons?

Wikipedia says that there are now 67 known moons of Jupiter. It got me wondering: is it really possible in our day and age that there are more, but we haven't observed them yet? On the other hand, ...
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545 views

Could this three moons system be stable?

In my fictional world I have selected all parameters to maximize the Hills Sphere of my planet. The planet has three times Earth's mass and it is located in 2 AU from its star that's 1.4 times more ...
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310 views

Is it possible for a moon to continuously have a side facing its star whilst orbiting a planet?

For example; is there any possibility for the moon to always have a side facing the Sun whilst orbiting Earth? And if so then what would the day cycle be like?
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274 views

If Venus had moon before and it fell back to Venus, why don't I see a unique, very big crater?

Does lack of a very big crater support the idea that Venus never had big moons before? If not, why can't I find a very big crater from the moon impact?
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Is it possible that Mercury was originally the moon of Venus after a giant impact?

Mercury looks like the Moon, and so it makes me think about a question: is it possible that Venus and Mercury were the a same planet originally, and a giant impact with that planet made it split into ...
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239 views

What planets and moons have we seeded with life (if any)?

Which planets and moons have we accidentally (or purposely) seeded with life? I would expect this to be any planet or moon we have sent an unsterilized (or not fully sterilized) lander to, or crashed ...
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790 views

What effect does a natural satellite have on a planet's rotation and revolution?

how is the rotation and revolution of a planet that does not have a natural satellite different from a planet that has say 1 natural satellite (ex. earth and moon system).
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Which moons have cold traps? (i.e. low ecliptic inclination in orbital and rotational axes)

Both the Moon and Mercury have polar cold traps in polar craters, with signs of volatiles. This is of course not as interesting on a moon in the outer Solar System which consists of volatiles anyway. ...
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1k views

Are moons geologically active?

Are there natural satellites in the Solar System that are geologically active? This includes volcanism, existence and motion of tectonic plates, et cetera. Is it a common or a rather rare feature ...
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133 views

How to cool down a moon?

I'm doing an Astronomy project and need to terraform a moon. It is about the size of Mars and orbits a gas giant which is at a distance of 1.28 AU of its star. I though about putting a sunshade at the ...
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588 views

Why does Saturn have both moons and rings?

From my understanding, a ring can form around a planet when a moon gets too close to its Roche limit, and gets ripped appart by the planet's gravity pull. That makes sense to me, but I don't ...
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276 views

Can we have a second moon?

This question sounds like silly and rather fantasy filled. But can our earth's gravity capture a sizable asteroid and make it rotate around our earth like our moon which become visible from ground. Is ...
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1answer
2k views

Can a gas moon exist? [duplicate]

Could a gaseous moon exist in the same way as a giant gas planet? All the moons in the solar system are rocky, or icy. Why shouldn't gas planets have gas moons?
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296 views

Why is the Color scheme of natural satellites in our solar system based of light shades of grey?

What is the explanation of the color similarity that the majority of natural satellites obtain?
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675 views

How is it that all planets (and moons) in our solar system are in equilibrium orbits?

Previously, I was told that in order for any bodies to orbit each other for over a long period of time, the orbital period, distance and masses have to be precisely matched such that the bodies won't ...