National Aeronautics and Administration




Enceladus ’s






Moons of the

www..gov — also called — come in many shapes, , ’s moon Titan, the second largest in the solar system, is SIGNIFICANT DATES and types. They are generally solid bodies, and few have atmo- the only moon with a thick . 1610 — Galilei and independently discover . Most of the planetary moons probably formed from the Beyond Saturn, has 27 known moons. The inner moons four moons orbiting . Galileo is credited and the moons discs of and circulating around in the early solar appear to be about half and half . is the are called “Galilean.” This discovery changed the way the solar system. Some moons are large enough for their to cause most unusual; its chopped-up appearance shows the scars of system was perceived. them to be spherical, while smaller moons appear to be cap- impacts of large rocky bodies. ’s moon is as big 1877 — discovers ’ moons and . tured , not related to the formation and of the as the dwarf , and backwards compared with 1969 — Astronaut Neil Armstrong is the first of 12 humans to body they . The International Astronomical Union lists 146 Neptune’s direction of . Neptune has 13 known moons walk on the surface of Earth’s Moon. moons orbiting planets in our solar system — this number does plus a 14th awaiting official confirmation. 1979 — photographs an erupting on Jupiter’s not include the moons awaiting official recognition and naming, moon Io; the first ever seen anywhere other than Earth. the eight moons of the dwarf planets, nor the tiny satellites that Pluto’s large moon, Charon, is about half the of Pluto, and 1980 — Voyager 1 instruments detect signs of surface features orbit some asteroids and other celestial objects. some scientists consider Pluto/Charon to be a double system. beneath the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Like Earth’s Moon, Charon may have formed from from Of the terrestrial (rocky) planets of the inner solar system, neither 2005 — The Cassini discovers jets or of an early collision of an impactor with Pluto. Scientists using the nor has any moons at all, Earth has one, and water ice particles venting from Saturn’s moon . Hubble Space to study Pluto have found five addi- Mars has its two small moons. In the outer solar system, the gas 2000–present — Using improved ground-based , tional smaller moons. , a even more distant than (Jupiter, Saturn) and the ice giants (Uranus and Neptune) the Hubble , and spacecraft observations, Pluto, has a small moon of its own, named . , have numerous moons. As these huge planets grew in the early scientists have found dozens of new moons in our solar system. another dwarf planet, has two satellites, Hi’iaka and . solar system, they were able to capture objects with their large Newly discovered moons (as well as other solar system objects) gravitational fields. are given temporary designations until they are confirmed by FAST FACTS — PLANETS AND SELECTED MOONS subsequent observations and receive permanent names from Earth’s Moon probably formed when a large body about the size Mean Radius Mean Radius the International Astronomical Union. of Mars collided with Earth, ejecting material from our planet into Planet Moon (km) (mi) orbit. This material accumulated to form the Moon approximately ABOUT THE IMAGES Earth Moon 1,737.4 1,079.6 4.5 billion ago (the age of the oldest collected lunar rocks). 1 2 1 Selected solar Twelve American astronauts landed on the Moon during NASA’s Mars Phobos 11.1 6.9 system moons, dis- program in 1969 to 1972, studying the Moon and bringing Mars Deimos 6.2 3.9 3 playing a variety of back rock samples. surface features, are Jupiter Io 1,821.6 1,131.9 Usually the term “moon” brings to mind a spherical object, like shown at correct rela- Jupiter Europa 1,560.8 969.8 4 6 Earth’s Moon. The two , Phobos and Deimos, are tive sizes to each other Jupiter 2,410 1,498 5 somewhat different. Both have nearly circular orbits and travel and to Earth. Jupiter 2,631 1,635 close to the of the planet’s , and they are lumpy 2 Miranda, a moon of Uranus, has many rugged features: and dark. Phobos is slowly drawing closer to Mars, and could Saturn Mimas 198.6 123.4 , grooved structures, ridges, and broken terrain. The crash into Mars in 40 or 50 million years, or the planet’s gravity Saturn Enceladus 249.4 154.9 large cliff in this is a 12--high vertical drop. might break Phobos apart, creating a thin ring around Mars. Saturn Tethys 529.9 329.3 3 This false-color image of Neptune’s moon Triton shows what Saturn Dione 560 348 Jupiter has 50 known moons (plus 17 awaiting official confirma- appear to be volcanic deposits. Saturn 764 475 tion), including the largest moon in the solar system, Ganymede. Saturn Titan 2,575 1,600 4 This Voyager 1 close-up of Saturn’s moon Rhea shows the Many of Jupiter’s outer moons have highly elliptical orbits and Saturn 718 446 moon’s ancient, cratered surface. orbit “backwards” (opposite to the spin of the planet). Saturn, 5 A portion of a Cassini image of Saturn’s largest moon, Uranus, and Neptune also have some “irregular” moons, which Uranus Miranda 235.8 146.5 Titan, showing the complexity of the surface. orbit far from their respective planets. Uranus 578.9 359.7 Uranus 584.7 363.3 6 Cassini imaged the small when the Saturn has 53 known moons (plus 9 awaiting official confirma- Uranus Titania 788.9 490.2 spacecraft was inbound for Saturn orbit insertion in June 2004. tion). The chunks of ice and rock in Saturn’s rings (and the par- Uranus 761.4 473.1 ticles in the rings of the other outer planets) are not considered FOR MORE INFORMATION moons, yet embedded in Saturn’s rings are distinct moons or Neptune Triton 1,353.4 841 solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object= “moonlets.” Small “shepherd” moons help keep the rings in line. Neptune 170 106 SolarSys&Display=Sats

LG-2013-07-572-HQ — JPL 400-1489K 07/13