Latest natural satellite Stories
Saturn’s moon Mimas is known for a resemblance to the Death Star from Star Wars, but that’s not the moon’s most unique attribute: The moon actually wobbles significantly in its orbit around Saturn.
Analysis of a massive rectangular feature buried just below the lunar surface by NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft has revealed that the giant basin on the moon’s near side was likely created by ancient lava flows and not a massive asteroid collision.
A recent study led by Olivier Mousis at the Université de Franche-Comté probed the hydrological cycle of Titan by examining how Titan's methane rainfall would interact with icy materials within underground reservoirs.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2’s first up-close look at Neptune and Triton, NASA has “restored” footage obtained by the probe and used it to construct the highest-quality global color map of the moon to date.
Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to confirm an exomoon.
Last year's single supermoon caused quite a stir. This summer, however, will bring a much greater treat to stargazers as there will be three full moons — July 12, August 10, and September 9 — and they will be supermoons.
Jupiter's moon Ganymede, the largest satellite in our solar system, has two types of terrain on the surface: highly cratered dark regions comprising nearly 40 percent of the surface, with the rest being lightly grooved in intricate patterns.
If there are cracks on the ice-covered surface of Charon, an upcoming analysis of those fractures could help determine whether or not the interior of Pluto’s moon was warm enough to have been home to a subterranean ocean of liquid water.
Despite being the nearest astronomical object to Earth, and the only extraterrestrial site of human visitors, the Moon still contains mysteries that have puzzled scientists for the better part of a century. Perhaps the greatest question surrounding lunar history is its two-faced nature.
Are you trying to unleash an evil scheme at night, but darkness is getting in the way? Why not just BRIGHTEN THE MOON!?!?! (Cue evil laughter)
Satellite -- A satellite is an object that orbits another object. With sufficient tangential velocity, the object does not collide with the primary object it orbits, but maintains a distance from that object as the rate at which it falls towards that object is similar to the rate that it travels away, thus the object orbits the primary object and becomes a satellite. In other words: gravitational force serves as the centripetal force needed to make the object circle the primary...
Retrograde Motion -- Retrograde motion is the orbital motion of a body in a direction opposite that which is normal to spatial bodies within a given system. 'Retrograde' derives from the Latin words retro, backwards, and gradus, step. In the Solar system, mostly everything rotates in the same sense: all major planets orbit the Sun counterclockwise as seen from the pole star (Polaris). Most planets spin in the same sense, including Earth. The same happens with the orbital motions of the...
Lagrangian Point -- In Lagrangian mechanics, a Lagrangian point (or L-point) is one of five positions in space where the gravitational fields of two bodies of substantial but differing mass combine to form a point at which a third body of negligible mass would be stationary relative to the two bodies. Bodies at the L-point will not move relative to the parent bodies if they are not perturbed by other gravitational forces. They are sometimes also referred to as libration points. The...
Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...
Lunar Phase -- The lunar phase is an astronomical term referring to the portion of the Moon that is visibly illuminated by the Sun, as seen from Earth. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the relative positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon change. Since the Moon only appears bright due to the Sun's reflected light, only the half of the Moon closest to the Sun is illuminated. Lunar phases are the result of our seeing the illuminated half of the Moon at different angles. The Moon exhibits...
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