How Many Moons Are There in Our Solar System

Moons of the solar system

Mother Earth is our home and this home has an address, called the Milky Way galaxy. So, before we get into any further details of today’s topic let us learn a little about our own galaxy and specifically Moons of the solar system.

We refer to our collection of planets as “the system ” borrowing the term from the word for Sun “Solis.” The word “solar” is commonly used to describe anything related to our star. Our planetary system can be found in the outer spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

We call our galaxy the Milky Way because it first appeared to ancient observers who saw it merely as a milky band of light that represented a cosmic roadway that stretched across the dark sky.

In our neighbourhood our planet exists alongside eight members Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and our very own Earth. Mercury holds the title of being the planet closest to the Sun while Neptune proudly claims the distinction of residing from our star.

Apart from these companions our solar system is also home to a range of celestial bodies. We have asteroids and comets that gracefully orbit around the Sun. Among these wanderers are smaller dwarf planets such as Ceres, Pluto, Makemake, Haumea and Eris. Interestingly the dwarf planet Ceres can be found within the asteroid belt situated between Mars and Jupiter. On the other hand the other smaller celestial bodies mentioned earlier reside, in the Kuiper Belt, an area within our galaxy.

Also Read: 12 amazing fun facts about Moon

Now that we know and understand a bit about our galaxy, let us learn about the moons of the solar system. So, what exactly makes a planet to qualify as a moon? Well, a moon is an object that orbits a planet or anything else that is basically not a star. Besides planets, moons can circle dwarf planets, large asteroids, and other solar bodies too. Objects that orbit other objects are also called satellites, so at times moons are also called natural satellites.

Now we surely understand the qualifier to be a moon but what makes a moon a moon instead of a planet? Would you not want to know?

We all know that our home Earth has one moon while Mars has its own two small moons. Of the four terrestrial “rocky” planets of the inner solar system, Mercury and Venus neither have any moons at all. However, in the outer solar system, Jupiter and Saturn the gas giants and Uranus and Neptune the ice giants have dozens of moons. It is fascinating right, that was a little insight about the planets with moons and planets with most moons.

Also Read: 10 Facts About the Solar System & Planets for Kids

How many moons are there in our solar system?

So, the question now arises: how many moons are there in our solar system? You would be astonished to know that there are hundreds of moons in our solar system and recent research has proven that small companion moons exist even around asteroids.

So here is a little insight that might help you understand the “Traditional” moon count that we are familiar with stands at 227. Here is the breakdown of the planets with moons: One moon for Earth; Two for Mars; 95 for Jupiter; 83 for Saturn; 27 for Uranus; 14 for Neptune. These are considered the planets with the most moons. There are five moons orbiting dwarf planet Pluto. However, the small body moons such as asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects, and Trans-Neptunian objects stand at a total count of 464. So, that makes a total moon count of 691. It is extraordinary right, so those were the moons of the solar system for you.

Also Read: Why is Pluto, not a planet? The Dwarf Planet of the Solar System

Facts about Moon

Now that our knowledge about the moons in our system has expanded, including those orbiting planets and the planet with the number of moons, let’s delve into further specifics, about these natural satellites.

  • The Moon is Earth’s satellite and ranks as the fifth largest satellite in our Solar System. It holds the record for being both the most massive and largest in proportion to its parent planet with a diameter one fourth that of Earth.
  • Titan, which is Saturn’s moon, takes second place as the biggest moon across our entire Solar System. It surpasses all dwarf planets within our neighbourhood.
  • Enceladus Saturn’s second largest moon measures one tenth the size of Titan and boasts a diameter of 500 kilometers. This moon stands out for its reflectivity due to its coverage of pristine ice.
  • Europa which is also known as Jupiter II ranks as the sixth-largest moon in our Solar System. Among Jupiter’s 95 known moons it is the smallest among the four Galilean moons and the sixth closest, to Jupiter itself.
  • Callisto or Jupiter IV is the third largest moon in our Solar System following Ganymede and Titan which is Saturn’s largest moon. It ranks second in size among Jupiter’s moons and is comparable in size to planet Mercury in our Solar System, albeit about one third as massive.
  • Triton holds the title of being the largest of Neptune’s satellites. It was initially discovered by an English astronomer. It remains the sole large moon in our Solar System with a retrograde orbit that goes against its planet’s rotation.
  • Ganymede, referred to as Jupiter III takes the crown for being both Jupiter’s most massive satellite within our Solar System. Despite boasting a field unlike any moon within our celestial neighbourhood it stands as the most extensive object without an atmosphere.
  • Io, also known as Jupiter I, claims its place as the innermost among Jupiter’s four moons while ranking third in terms of size. In total Jupiter hosts 92 known moons alongside 600 ones orbiting around it. Among the 92 known moons Jupiter I, Jupiter II, Jupiter III and Jupiter IV are visible from Earth.
  • Mimas, also known as Saturn I, is named after the character Mimas from Greek mythology. Mimas was believed to be the son of Gaia, in Greek mythology. It has a diameter of 396 kilometers and is the smallest astronomical body known to still be rounded in shape because of its self-gravitation.

Also Read: What happens to old satellites and Debris in Space?

Those were some astonishing facts and details about the moons of the solar system. At EuroSchool, we want our students to learn more about the Moons in our solar system and the solar system in itself. We ensure kids get all the knowledge and learn about all the planets with moons as well as learn about the interstellar space which is the area between the stars, but it is far from empty. We know that it contains vast quantities of dark matter and photons as well as neutrinos, charged particles, atoms, molecules, that range from the highest-energy radiation to the sluggish light of the cosmic microwave background.

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