Scientifically speaking, the moon’s luminosity emanates from the sun. Linguistically though, the moon’s brilliant gaze in the night sky is somewhat poetic in that it appeals to earthlings without trying too much.
Through the years, people have oft wondered about the model of the moon. More specifically, what causes it to change shape through the days of the month. Since most primeval societies couldn’t put their finger on the matter, most simply associated the phases with the duality of life.
In ancient mythologies like the Aztec one, there was a belief that on one night, the darkness might envelop the whole world to a point where the sun would not have sufficient strength to make a comeback. This fear of what portended is probably why the ancients developed a first love for the moonshine, despite it being significantly dimmer than the sun’s glare.
Of course, we’ve come a long way from believing in mythologies. Today, much of the world is guided by scientific foundations.
At AstroReality, we’re at the forefront in advancing AR technology to review celestial bodies. Our collection includes a detailed LUNAR Regular model of the moon from where you can gain plenty of insights on the craters, how it spins, and the nature of its movement in the night sky.
Most of us are well aware that ever since Pluto’s demotion as a planet, we now have 8 planets in the solar system.
Perhaps just as pertinent a question is how many moons are in our solar system. If you’ve ever tried to wrap your head around this topic, then, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve done all the research necessary and come up with impressive findings.
At present, there are 166 known moons in our solar system. Given jus have different each of them is, we felt a need to compile a comprehensive list that dives into the specifics like luster, size, gravitational pull, and elegance.
This breakdown today will try to answer how many moons are in our solar system, and of them, which is the most striking.
Well, there’s no better starting point than referencing the folklores again. In Roman mythology, Mars was considered the god of war probably because of its reddish hue. Given this background, it’s little wonder that its two moons were aptly named Phobos, “fear”, and Deimos, “terror.”
The irregular appearance of these moons and their considerably low mean densities gives the impression that both these moons were initially asteroids before they found themselves entangled in Mars’ orbit.
Their surface appearance shows a saturation of craters. Of the two moons, Deimos has a much smoother surface brought about by sediments filling up its craters over the years.
What makes Phobos and Deimos fascinating is the fact that they are tidally locked just like ours. This means that they always show the same face towards Mars. It’s just one of those marvels of the universe.
As the saying goes, life sometimes imitates art…or is it the other way around?
Either way, if you’ve ever binge-watched the Star Wars films, then there’s no denying that Mimas has a strikingly similar appearance to the Death Star which is a humongous space weapon capable of obliterating planets.
In retrospect, despite having a similar outward appearance, Mimas is quite unlike Death Star in terms of functionality. The space rock drifts across the cosmos quite harmlessly without much ado.
The similarity between the two stems from the fact that the Herschel crater is deep-lying on Mimas. Scientists believe that the crater formed after an impact occurred on the planet which was so intense that it almost destroyed the moon.
Europa derives its name from one of Zeus’ Greek partners. While it’s the smallest of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, it has the allure of being one of the moons which have the potential to harbor life.
It’s smooth surface and exuberance has led many to believe that ocean water may actually exist below the surface. There have been noticeable plumes which act in the same manner like ice geysers, which have spread ocean water miles upwards into space before dropping back to the surface.
As a result of this, speculation is rife that those geyser sprays might actually contain microbes, which is an indicator of life. The odds are that the microbial life may survive the brief excursion from the surface. With continued exploration, the answer to whether or not we are alone in the universe may actually be found right beneath Europa’s surface.
Situated in Saturn, Enceladus represents the next frontier for exploration by scientists. Already, they’ve ascertained that the moon has an internal ocean after taking gravity measurements. Given the fact that the Doppler Effect was considered during the tests, the consistency in the data findings points towards every likelihood that there’s a massive water body within Enceladus.
With Cassini having flown past Enceladus the last time in October 2015, explorers will keep crosschecking the data for a good number of years before they launch a new mission to take in some more of what this wondrous moon has to offer.
Pronounced “EYE-oh”, this moon is just as old as Jupiter itself at 4.5 billion years old. Remarkably, it was the very first moon upon which the great Galileo Galilei discovered as he peeked into the heavens.
Even more extraordinary is the fact that Io experiences volcanoes on the regular. In our solar system, only Earth and Io are the only known locations in the entire solar system which experience volcanic action. Scientists believe that the volcanic activity on Io is brought about as a result of the moon being elongated and squeezed as it makes its way around Jupiter.
Just this year, NASA announced its intention to make its way back to Triton after having last been there in 1989 during the Voyager 2 mission.
The key reason behind the exploration will be continued search for habitable worlds out there. There’s a widespread belief that despite the extremely cold temperatures, there’s actually a large deposit of water present.
Having demonstrated a couple of the precursors for the existence of life, NASA is prepared to send over a spacecraft named Trident. Since they already have a good understanding of this model of the moon, they expect to maneuver through Neptune’s moon. Their expectations for success are said to be considerably high because of the presence of ammonia on the planet, just the right ingredient necessary to keep water in a liquid state.
You can always count on Jupiter to deliver on size. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system by some distance. This behemoth is so big that Mercury dwarfs in comparison.
As a Galilean moon, Ganymede has a cratered surface that is somewhat akin to Earth’s moon.
It’s also quite unique since it’s the only known moon to have its very own magnetosphere. The Hubble telescope recently ascertained that the Ganymede’s surface actually has an ozone layer.
That said, it’s worth pointing out that the layer is almost paper thin which means that it’s not sufficient for life to exist here.
We left the best for last. For the longest time, our moon has been lauded as playing a crucial role in the stabilization of our planet. Astrophysicists have posited that without our moon in orbit, Earth’s tilt could vary greatly.
This larger-than-normal moon is believed to be a unique phenomenon throughout the universe. It’s credited as providing just the right conditions for life to thrive.
This large celestial body has played a key role in shaping today’s culture through the arts and religious factions. There’s almost always a tale or two about the moon that’s always thrown around is such settings.
At AstroReality, we pride ourselves in being great educators. Our model of the moon is almost an exact replica of the real thing. With our AR technology, we can provide you with an amazing view of the landscape thanks to the 3D concept. You can check out our LUNAR Pro model of the moon for a snippet of our product offering.
And it’s a wrap. We’ve shared plenty of insights about our solar system. With Jupiter’s moons taking 3 of the positions in our list, it’s safe to say that the query on which planet has the most attractive moons has been answered.
If you’re looking for some inspiration from the cosmos, you can take a look at our highly detailed, handcrafted model of the moon. You can also build your own solar system and check out all the moons of the solar system planets. You will not regret it!