Satellites

Demonstrate an understanding that some planets have satellite systems with a variety of origins and structures (including Mars and Neptune)

A satellite is another name for a moon.

All but two planets (Mercury and Venus) in the Solar System have satellites. Occasionally new moons of the outer planets are discovered. You may want to look up the latest numbers for yourself.

Dwarf planets and even asteroids have been found to have satellites.

Astronomers believe there are 3 different ways a satellite evolves:

  1. 1. A satellite forms in the same area of space as the planet e.g. Jupiter’s Galilean Moons
  2. 2. A satellite is captured by the Planet e.g. Phobos and Deimos of Mars, Triton of Neptune
  3. 3. A satellite evolves from the debris from an impact with the planet e.g. Earth's Moon

 

 

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Interesting Moons worth researching

  • Phobos & Deimos (Mars)
  • Io, Europa (Jupiter)
  • Titan, Enceladus (Saturn)
  • Triton (Neptune)

Questions

- What differences are there between the origins of the satellites of Mars with the largest moons of Jupiter and Neptune?

- Why are some moons in the Solar System geologically active?

Links New Window

Windows to the Universe Table of moons in the Solar System

University of Washington, Astronomy Department Moons of the Giant planets

 

Planet

Number of satellites

Mercury

0

Venus

0

Earth

1

Mars

2

Jupiter

63

Saturn

60

Uranus

27

Neptune

13