Planets with Moons

Planets with Moons - Moons in our Solar System

Six of our Solar System's eight planets have moons. Only the inner two worlds – Mercury and Venus – lack natural satellites. Scientists have found at least 146 moons orbiting those planets. Another 23 satellites believed to be circling Jupiter and Saturn are provisional moons awaiting confirmation.

Planets

Planet

Moons

Provisional Moons

Total Moons

Largest Moon

Mercury

Mercury

0

0

0

--

Venus

Venus

0

0

0

--

Earth

Earth

1

0

1

Moon

Moon

Mars

Mars

2

0

2

Phobos

Phobos

Jupiter

Jupiter

50

14

64

Ganymede

Ganymede

Saturn

Saturn

53

9

62

Titan

Titan

Uranus

Uranus

27

0

27

Titania

Titania

Neptune

Neptune

13

0

13

Triton

Triton

Subtotal

146

23

169

Dwarf Planets


Dwarf
Planet
Moons
Provisional Moons
Total Moons
Largest Moon

Pluto

Pluto

4

0

4

Charon

Eris

Eris

1

0

1

Dysnomia

Haumea

Haumea

2

0

2

Namaka

Subtotal

7

0

7

Total

153

23

176


Planets with Moons - Dwarf Planets

Dwarf planets have at least seven moons orbiting them. Pluto leads the way with four satellites, followed by Haumea with two moons, and Eris with one. Scientists have discovered several asteroids that have satellites as well.


The moons are rather unevenly distributed among the planets. The Earth has a single large moon, while Jupiter and Saturn have a combined 126 confirmed and provisional satellites between them. Uranus comes in third with 27 moons, followed by Neptune with 13 satellites. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, that are so small and dark that they weren't discovered until 1877.


Although the Earth's Moon has long been a favorite of lovers and werewolves, it ranks only fifth in terms of size. Jupiter's Ganymede is first, followed by Saturn's Titan. Callisto and Io, which both orbit Jupiter, round out the top four. Three small worlds known only by numerical designations are at the bottom of the pack with an estimated mean radius of 300 kilometers (180 miles).

In recent years, water has become inextricably linked with lunar exploration. Earth's Moon was once thought to be as dry as a desert. More recent research shows that the Moon contains massive amounts of water beneath its dusty surface. This has excited scientists and space advocates alike because water can support bases when humans return to the Moon.


Regardless of how much water might exist on the Moon, it could pale compared to the amount on Jupiter's moon Europa. This frozen world's icy surface could conceal a massive ocean warmed by geothermal vents on its sea floor.  And where there's water, there could be life.


Jupiter's Ganymede and Saturn's Enceladus moons are also believed to host subsurface oceans. NASA's Cassini probe has sent back images of large eruptions of water vapor over the Enceladus' south pole, a result of active ice volcanism. Jupiter's moon, Io, also has active volcanoes that spew red sulfur high above the satellite's surface.


Planets with Moons - Continuing exploration of our Solar System


Although we have images of most of our Solar System's moons, there are four that we haven't been able to clearly see: the moons of Pluto: Charon, Nix, Hydra and the recently discovered S/2001 P1. Fortunately, NASA's New Horizon's spacecraft will conduct a flyby of Pluto in July 2015. That mission will complete humanity's exploration of the Solar System's major moons.

Links for Planets with Moons

Solar System

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OTHER PAGES ABOUT PLANETS WITH MOONS

Moons of Venus

Moons of Venus - In 1672, Italian-French astronomer Giovanni Cassini spotted a small object close to Venus, which he identified as a possible moon. Although others thought they spotted the satellite, which was named Neith.

Moons of Mars

Search for moons of mars nearly abandoned! - An American astronomer working at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. came very close to missing his chance at fame. He had grown so frustrated looking for moons around Mars that he was on the verge of quitting.

Moons of Jupiter

Moons of Jupiter: Jupiter's Moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. The four largest satellites – are known as Galilean moons because they were discovered by famed Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610. All four moons are much more fascinating than Galileo could have imagined four centuries ago.

Moons of Saturn

The 62 moons of Saturn are a mini-Solar System with many secrets yet to be discovered. Scientists will be analyzing the data from Cassini and Huygens for many years to come. Titan was discovered as the first Saturn's Moons in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens.

Moons of Uranus

The Moons of Uranus: Uranus' moons are not named for figures from Greek and Roman mythology but rather characters from the plays of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Uranus is so far from Earth that it was not until 1781 that William Herschel discovered the planet.

Moons of Neptune

Given their vast distance from Earth, the moons of Neptune remained enigmas until Voyager 2 swept past Neptune in 1989. The spacecraft discovered five new satellites - Despina, Galatea, Naiad, Proteus and Thalassa – and made some startling findings about Neptune's moons.

Earths Moon

Description: Exploring Earth's moon is not easy. In more than half a century of exploration, the success rate is just above 60 percent. The pinnacle of lunar exploration was the Apollo program, which landed six pairs of astronauts on the moon between 1969 and 1972. A wide variety of vehicles have been sent to the moon, including orbiters, landers and penetrators.

Helium Rain on Jupiter

Helium is lighter than air, which makes it perfect for floating balloons, blimps, and Zeppelins on Earth. However, on Jupiter, instead of rising as a gas, it actually falls as raindrops.

Google Mars

Google Mars is a program that includes high-resolution global maps and other information about the planet. It is viewable in two formats: online via web browsers and as part of the Google Earth application that can be downloaded for free.