Viewing The Moons Of The Solar System From The Backyard

There are many, many moons of the solar system. Both Jupiter and Saturn have 60 or more moons, also known as "natural satellites".

Six of the eight planets have moons. Mercury and Venus are without moons, Earth has one, and Mars has two though they are relatively small.

The outer planets have many but most of these are not moons in the sense that the backyard stargazer thinks of "moons".

There are regular moons and irregular moons in the solar system.

Regular moons, which this website will mostly concentrate on, are similar in appearence to our own moon... if we were viewing from its parent planet.

These moons orbit their planet in the same direction that the planet orbits the sun, with the exception of Triton. This is known as a prograde orbit.

Regular moons are also tidally locked to the parent. This means that the same side of the moon always faces the planet.

Hyperion is the only known exception to this. The gravitational influence of Titan causes this.

Irregular moons are too far away from their parents to become tidally locked. They also come in various shapes as they are not massive enough to have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium.

Irregular moons also tend to have retrograde orbits, meaning they orbit the parent planet in the opposite direction than the planet orbits the sun.

Earth's Moon is one of the largest in the solar system. It is the closest celestial body to Earth and the only moon visible with the naked eye.

The moon is the only natural satellite close enough to show details of the surface from Earth through a telescope.

The 8 phases of the moon are explained on the page of lunar cycles.

Monthly Moon Phases

And the tradional names of the full moons are listed on this page.

Full Moon Names

Explore Some Solar System Moons

Click on the links to see pictures and check out some of the other moons in the solar system.

Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune

moons of the solar system to constellations and backyard stargazing home