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.
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
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.
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
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.
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