Our earth has one moon only but the moon fraternity has various other members apart from our earth’s moon, within our solar system, and outside it. Moon fraternity has 691 observed members within our solar system. 227 is the count of moons with traditional recognition and 464 is the total count of moons of small bodies. Contrary to popular belief, moons are not always round. Moons of different shapes and sizes are present. Moons in the atmosphere and even hidden oceans are present. It is believed that thousands of moons are even now awaiting discovery and 691 discovered moons are a small segment of the total moons in the solar system. Moons in the solar system are not distributed uniformly among objects in our solar system revolving around the sun. Two planets Venus and Mercury lack any moon while our earth has only one moon. Mars has two moons, Jupiter has 79, Saturn has 82, Uranus has 27 and Neptune has 14.
Big seven moons
The seven largest moons in our solar system are categorized as the ‘big seven’ moons. Our moon Luna is one of the members of this small fraternity. All members of this small fraternity listed in descending order of size are Ganymede (Jupiter), Titan (Saturn), Callisto (Jupiter), Io (Jupiter), Luna (earth), Europa (Jupiter), and Triton (Neptune).
Big Seven moons exhibit some interesting characteristics. Io is volcanically active, Triton is captured object, Ganymede has its own magnetic field due to its large size, Titan has its own atmosphere and Europa is suspected to have large oceans under the surface.
Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are called Galilean moons as these were first by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Galileo rightly recognized these as the moons of Jupiter. These are grouped with the largest objects in the solar system. Galileo was able to observe these moons after he improved his telescope. Jupiter has 79 observed moons in total and due for the same reason is called the king of planets.
Moon Triton spotted by William Lassell just 17 days after Neptune’s discovery
Moon Triton is one of the 14 observed moons of Neptune. Just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune William Lassell, a brewery businessman and renowned amateur astronomer, spotted Triton through his telescope. Till now 14 moons of Neptune have been discovered with the help of powerful telescopes and modern spacecraft.
Not all moons in our solar system have been discovered and yet-to-be-discovered moons maybe not be in hundreds but thousands. Contrary to popular belief, moons are not revolving around planets only, many smaller objects in our solar system have moons.
Another misconception is that moons are round only, moons of different shapes and sizes are present in our solar system. Some moons have been captured by objects around which they are revolving.
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