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Trojan Satellites


"Two moons are known have small companions at their L4 and L5 Lagrangian points, which are about sixty degrees ahead of and behind the body in its orbit. "

What is this sentence trying to say? It doesn't make sense. 11:50, 25 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

what if it read "Two moons are known to have small companions at their L4 and L5 Lagrangian points, which are about sixty degrees ahead of and behind the body in its orbit. " --5telios 12:23, 25 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Focused on Moons


Perhaps I should just share my ideas and let them be debated. What I want to do is move the move the moon information to be a subcategory to a category labeled "Types of Natural Satellites" and also add information on comets, asteroids, meterors, planets, etc. I am looking for either support or objections. Thank you :)
kf4yfd 04:49, 14 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

No, that would be the solar system article. We already have it. Rmhermen 05:28, 14 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Rmhermen there. We already have it. Sorry. Deuar 14:48, 14 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I have noticed that this page focuses mostly on the moons of our solar system. Natural satellites, however consist of more than moons and tends to be a very broad subject. Natural satellites include earth's moon, the earth itself, the sun, meteors, comets, and even galaxies. In short, any celestial object can be a satellite and natural satellites are celestial objects . kf4yfd 01:32, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Well that's a fair point it seems, although commonly more cumbersome expressions like "body orbiting so-and-so" seem to be used when discussing the non-moon cases (apart from satellite galaxies). A name change might be desirable to keep in line with what the article actually discusses, but I can't think of a good one (Moons in the plural?). The thought of how many articles link to this one is enough to make me cringe at the very thought. An article for the broader grouping could be called orbiting body or something similar. Not sure. Deuar 10:59, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I believe extending the household notion of a moon is not helpful. The different ‘orbiting’ bodies do not have much in common except for being ‘bodies affected by gravity’. But orbits of planets' satellites are special: described by 2-body perturbed solutions or 3-bodies special cases. Little to do with other objects. The household moons have a lot in common (even if split into two categories: regular (formed in situ) and irregular (to be elucidated but probably captured). Further, they split based on the physical characteristics etc.

My point is that being a ‘tertiary object (orbiting a secondary on orbit around the primary) from celestial mechanics point of view and being metal/silicate/ice composition from the physical point of view defines this category. Including other "orbiting" objects dilutes the meaning of the category in my opinion. If you look at the list of objects you quote one by one, you see that both (celestial) mechanics and physical characteristics put them aside from the ‘moons’ (commonalities of course exist). The category of ‘being affected by gravity’ would be of little value IMHO. Eurocommuter 13:10, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

(IAU clarification on Planet definition)


I made several changes to this page to reflect the change in status of Pluto to a dwarf planet. I included a mention of the 3 dwarf planets and their moons. Scottosborne

(Asteroids and KBOs)


Why are the asteroids included in a list of moons? They don't revolve around planets, if I recall, but around the Sun. --montrealais

I put them there merely for purpose of comparison. They're in the same general size class as moons, and so comparing them helps get a feel for them both. Bryan

If we are going to include some of the larger asteroides in this artcle, should we also include the larger KBOs? jeff8765

Sounds reasonable to me. Perhaps to save space, though, they should be combined into the asteroid column, which can then be renamed "minor planets" or somesuch and maybe moved to the right side of the table (rather than remaining between Mars and Jupiter)? I can do the work, if that sounds good to everyone. Bryan 02:45, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Sounds good to me --- I think that putting the "minor planets" column off to the right partially answers Montrealais' objection & accounts for KBOs nicely. Btw, I like having the minor planets in there for comparison. -- hike395 05:38, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
All prepped and ready to go, but I'm just about to turn in for the night so I'm not going to add any KBOs myself just yet. I'll get to it tomorrow if nobody beats me to it. Bryan 06:17, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Oh, this raises an interesting issue. Pluto itself has a diameter of only 2320 km, and Mercury 4879.4 km; both of these diameters fit into the range covered by the table. How about changing "minor planets" to "other objects" and including these two planets in with them as well? Bryan 06:27, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
While fewer people are considering Pluto a planet these days, Mercury's another story. I guess we'll have to wait for the IAU. - Jeandré, 2004-03-17t11:30z

I've changed the 750-1 000 row, to 900-1 000 to cut it off at 2002 TX300. Another option would be to include "(too many to list)" below 20000 Varuna (and then order everything by size!), and change the row name to 500-1 000, since it's kind of ill-proportioned at the moment. - Jeandré, 2004-03-17t11:30z

Another alternative (which is more balanced) is to give upon listing "other objects" less than 1000km, because more and more TNOs will be discovered in that size range... Also, I think Ceres & Varuna are both >1000km? (I've seen a 1003 km estimate for Ceres). -- hike395 15:11, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I agree with the 1000km cut off. Some (good?) sources: Varuna 900km (+125/-145). Ceres 950 × 920, 930 and 970. - Jeandré, 2004-03-17t17:12z
Agree that Ceres is <1000km (took it out already) I did some research a while ago on Varuna's diameter. The latest paper from France & Spain[1] gives a thermal estimate above 1000km. Dr. Jewitt's web page does not reflect the latest work, because it was published in 2001. In fact, the Lellouch paper cites the Jewitt paper. I'd like to stick with the latest results. --- hike395 18:29, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
More, from Lellouch's paper (JAE01 being the 2001 Jewitt paper) ---
We find D = 1060+180−220 km. Although our central flux value, when rescaled to 850 �m, is 25–30% lower than JAE01's, our inferred nominal value is slightly higher than theirs; this is due to different assumptions on the millimeter emissivity, the distribution of temperature, and the fact that JAE01 adopted the Rayleigh-Jeans approximation (which is relatively inaccurate at 0.8 mm – about 20% error for T = 45 K). With our model, we would infer a 1220+175 −200 km diameter from JAE01's measurements. The two determinations nonetheless overlap within error bars.
So, shall we keep Varuna > 1000km? -- hike395
IANAA, but that looks good to me. I've found another link to Lellouch's 1060+180-220 data on the Johnston's Archive site which I've found useful. - Jeandré, 2004-03-17t22:01z

I really think Ceres should be on that table, at the very least; it's the largest asteroid and people will be curious about how the asteroids measure up. How about modifying that (too many to list) note to (and many others), and insert a couple of notable asteroids into the sub-1000km cells? Bryan 00:43, 18 Mar 2004 (UTC)

That's a good compromise. -- hike395

(Moons of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)


I was curious as to why Saturn's newest moons have been listed under unknown, I've been able to find figures that generally agree on Scott Sheppard's page and a JPL page. Hope those are helpful, this is a very informative entry. - patteroast

Thanks! I incorporated the diameters from Scott Sheppard. -- hike395
I think there's some similar info for Uranus and Neptune's smaller moons on Scott Sheppard's site, also. It'd be nice to get rid of that unknown section. :) - patteroast
Done -- hike395



What is the ordering of moons and others in each box? It is not alphabetical, order of discovery or distance from sun. Is it random? Or are there just mistakes in the ordering? Rmhermen 04:58, Apr 3, 2004 (UTC)

It could be that several different editors each thought the ordering was based on a different characteristic, and so the combination of their additions has resulted in this confusion. :) How about we arrange the names in order of size, since the table is already ordered that way on a large scale? For the little tiny moons that are all about the same size (or as near as we can tell, anyway) we could resort to some other ordering. Bryan 19:33, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Sounds good. We should mention that somewhere. Bound to more more moons discovered -but probably only small ones. Of course, the box with Sedna, Quaoar, etc. will be anyones guess as to size order. Rmhermen 20:00, Apr 3, 2004 (UTC)
I suppose a good method of arranging the smallest moons when they all have the same size is to go by discovery order. I'm cringing at the thought of seeing all those S/2003 Jx's every which way, though... patteroast

What source is being used for the moons' sizes? I was trying to do a little editting to put some of the ones in order when I noticed several weren't in the right box in the first place. I know it depends greatly on the source, but as an example, the only source cited on the page (Scott Sheppard's Site) and JPL's site gives Himalia's diameter as well over 100 km, in fact it gives a figure larger than Amalthea! I'd go on an edit spree, but I want to know if there's a different source being used - want to keep it self-consistent. If not, I'll be happy to do some re-arranging. Also, I think I'll add JPL's page as an addition source in the article now. --Patteroast 22:01, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Looks like User:Bryan Derksen started the page about 2 years ago by moving the table from some other page. I am not sure we can track down a single source used for sizes. Probably best to find the most reliable source we can and make whatever changes are necessary. Rmhermen 13:53, Apr 21, 2004 (UTC)
I recall creating the table in the first place, but darned if I can remember what the specific source of the information was from. I believe (not certain, but fairly confident) that I took the information from existing Wikipedia pages. Some of that information would have been placed there by others, so I can't tell where it came from, but I recall that at the time I was expanding a lot of planet and moon pages with information gleaned from nineplanets.org. You might concievably find an earlier version of the table in the history of moon, since it was about that time when I split it into separate articles for Earth's moon and moons in general. Bryan 15:18, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Well, if nobody minds, I'm going to update them. I'm using JPL's SSD information except where it's not available (a few of the most recent moons), in which case I'm using Scott Sheppard's data. --Patteroast 21:50, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
By all means. Just make sure to check the articles of the moons that need changing to avoid introducing inconsistencies that will confuse future editors all over again. :) Bryan 23:57, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Okay, I went to try to do that, and.. I came up onto a few issues. 1) Some pages list the radius and some pages list the diameter. Not an unsurmountable problem, but it does cause some confusion. 2) With so many different references listing sometimes wildly different figures, which are to be trusted? For my own personal study, I've been using figures from JPL's Solar System Dynamics pages for the larger and mid-sized moons, and Scott Sheppard's page for best estimates of some other newly discovered moons. It just seems strange to change it to what I think is right without say. Perhaps there should be an agreed upon reference? 3) Finally, for irregular bodies, I've seen that the longest axis seems to be the favorite to be listed as the diameter or radius, instead of an average of all axes. I think this method's preferable, as it more accurately shows the volume of the object. Anyway, I could just start changing things, but I figured mentioning it somewhere would be a good bet, beforehand. Thoughts? :) --Patteroast 22:43, 24 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
If you are going to be working on them, standardizing them all on either radius or diameter would be great. I don't care which but could we get them all to the same standard. Rmhermen 14:48, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
Right. I've started work on a new standard, using the mean diameter, using figures from JPL's SSD page where possible, and any info not available there being provided from Scott Sheppard's page. --Patteroast 15:23, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'd like to bring up a question.. would it be appropriate to create pages for unnamed moons? We have virtually the same amount of information about many of them as some recently discovered named moons.. and there are pages for un-numbered asteroids, which is sort of the same thing. I realize many would be named, but that may take years.. especially for objects like S/2000 J11 and S/1986 U10 which have been passed over for naming several times. I'd take up the task of creating the pages, and when they're named to change links and move them. How's that sound? --Patteroast 15:23, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'd say go for it, no reason not to. -- Curps 16:29, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Seconded. That's what the "move this page" function is for. :) Bryan 00:29, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I moved Charon to be a moon of Pluto. I know all about the controversy over whether or not Pluto is a planet, but I think it is still usually accepted as one. In addition, given that Charon is its moon (whether or not it is a planet) Charon should still be considered a moon. If the consensus is that this is wrong and that Charon really should be under "Other Objects" then it should be footnoted to explain why this is the case for the reader. Mfriedma 15:45, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Jupiter's less-than-10km-diameter satellites


Back when I first implemented this table layout there were a whole lot fewer of these, but now that one cell is stretching the table hugely. Anyone object if I collapse it down to "too many to list, see Jupiter's natural satellites?" The downside is that there would no longer be a link for every moon in the solar system here, but I'm not so greatly worried about that now that there are categories and navigation footers and whatnot to keep track of them with. Bryan 00:58, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sounds fine to me. -- Patteroast 02:11, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Ok with me. -- hike395
Make that "at least XX, see Jupiter's natural satellites" and I'll be happy.
Urhixidur 04:36, 2005 Jan 26 (UTC)
I find it hard to think something you can jump off a moon. "rocks orbiting planets" or what not but some sort of escape velocity could be a limit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 5 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Templating the table


David Kernow moved the table over to a template and transcluded it, but I can't see any good reason to do so - it's not overly large, it's not located in a confusing spot for new editors like infoboxes are (and indeed it makes it harder to find in the source), and it's only used in this one individual article. Furthermore, it makes footnoting problematic. I'm going to subst it back. Bryan 18:55, 2 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I thought it might be (adapted for) use in individual moons' articles, e.g. made (semi-)hideable via <div class="Nav*">s. Regards, David Kernow (talk) 04:05, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Other topics


I'd like to see this article cover the topic of the Hill sphere with respect to the stability of satellite orbits. Also some discussion of "regular" versions "irregular" satellites would be much appreciated.[2][3][4] Thanks! — RJH (talk) 21:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Just discovered your post (and read this article for the first time). I’ve covered some of it in the irregular satellite since. This article could benefit I believe by making clear regular/irregular distinctions, referring for more details to irregular sat article (started with a few remarks). Eurocommuter 15:55, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]



Under origin it mentions that the Earth's moon is a fragment from the Earth blasted into orbit.

"others may be fragments of larger moons shattered by impacts, or (in the case of Earth's Moon) a portion of the planet itself blasted into orbit by a large impact."

I know this is a theory but not that it is accepted as fact. Should (in the case of the Earth's Moon) be removed? At this point, no one knows where the Moon came from.

Minor and others


Why are some objects listed in the others for comparison column while others in the same class are in the Minor planets column. Seems confusing. Rmhermen 15:55, 17 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Yep, this column seems to cause confusion every so often. I've attempted a new label. Perhaps it is better (?). Deuar 15:01, 23 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Following the footnote makes it clear. But is the "many more TNOs" really correct for moons of minor planets? Are there that many known? Couldn't it say, if true, "many more moons of TNOs"? Rmhermen 16:28, 23 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]
It is often estimated that 10% or even as much of 20% of TNO could have satellites. The theories are intriguing (once I’ve done with the irregulars I hope to write something about the binaries). A half-cooked but intuitive explanation for large population of the multiples is the large Hill sphere compared with the asteroids. In flat English, given the distance to the Sun the zone of gravitational influence of any sizable rock is quite large. However, there’re problems including the available initial density of the primordial disk for example. Eurocommuter 16:07, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

moons having moons


I don't understand. If a moon can't have moons of its own, how is it possible for spacecraft and satellites to orbit moons? In that case, they're just behaving the way in which moons and satellites behave with planets. You could look at it this way: Pretend that the Sun is a planet and that there are 8 moons orbiting it (Mercury --> Neptune). 6 of these 'moons' have their own 'moons' orbiting them. The principle is the same: A primary being orbited by a secondary which is being orbited by a tertiary.

Someone please explain.

It is a matter of stability. Check out e.g. what happened to SMART-1, which impacted the Moon just recently because its orbit had decayed. The decay is mostly caused by perturbations from the primary (Earth in the above case) and non-uniformity of the Moon's gravitational field. For orbits around most moons of interest in our solar system, the decay time is very short (often a few years) because the moons orbit close to their primary where tidal forces are strong. Any natural "moons of moons" would have to be on orbits that are stable for times of the order of the Solar system's age, meaning they would have to be within at most about 1/3 of that moon's Hill sphere. There are also other perturbations which all serve to destabilise such an orbit over long timescales: the gravity of other moons; nonuniformity of the moon's or planet's gravitational field; radiation pressure; collisions with other bodies, etc. While moons of moons are not ruled out in principle, in our solar system the only viable candidate moons to have their own satellites would be the distant irregular satellites of the giant planets. No such cases are currently known. By the way, this is also related to why Mercury and Venus do not have any moons. Deuar 15:23, 7 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Ok that makes sense. So in the end, could our moon's orbit decay in much the same way as the orbit of a satellite around the moon decays? I wonder if Mercury used to orbit Venus and then its orbit decayed and it became a planet... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Just James (talkcontribs)
You might want to check out tidal acceleration. As for Mercury and Venus it is ruled out because there is no mechanism for Mercury to have lost enough gravitational potential energy to end up halfway to the Sun inward of Venus. Being a lost satellite might have been plausible only if Mercury's orbit was very close to Venus's. Deuar 22:05, 10 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
It would be interesting to pick up an example of say 10-50 km rock around Callisto at no more than a few radii and calculate (over an envelope) how long it could last. My bet (haven’t done any calculations) would be that it could last for a while. Even if a smaller rock could last for a while the real problem would be to explain its origin! Some seriously devious scenario should be devised to create it (or place and keep it) on such an orbit. As Callisto has been seriously bombarded one could some expect bits and pieces go high. We discovered none, so either they are really small chunk or the orbits decay ‘’quickly’’. Eurocommuter 16:20, 12 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I know nothing about the science of this, but the article contradicts itself with regards to moons of moons. In the first section it says: "A natural satellite is a celestial body that orbits another celestial body of greater mass (e.g., a planet, star, or dwarf planet), which is called its primary.[1][2] For example, the Moon is a natural satellite of Earth, and Earth is a natural satellite of the Sun.", and then in the "Satellites of satellites" section it says "No "moons of moons" (natural satellites that orbit a natural satellite of another body) are currently known as of 2016." The first quote sets up the Moon as a natural satellite of the Earth which is in turn a natural satellite of the sun. These two statements are mutually exclusive. (talk) 17:33, 21 January 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I've adjusted the wording to clarify that the latter section is only talking about satellites of satellites of planets (which have not been observed), not satellites of satellites of the Sun (which obviously have). -Jason A. Quest (talk)

A suggestion has been made that this article should be merged with natural satellite. As long as you guys have no problem with it I'm willing to do the merger in the next few days. -- Nbound 14:17, 19 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Straw poll to gauge consensus-




Merge complete -- Nbound 09:46, 22 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Merge Moon moon


I suggest merging whatever can be saved of this strange little article about a population of objects whose ranks currently stand at zero. Support? Oppose? RandomCritic 11:08, 22 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Due to the lack of opposition, I went ahead with the merger. RandomCritic 23:35, 25 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Meaning of "satellite"

 Technically, the term could also refer to a planet orbiting a star, or even to a star orbiting a galactic center, 

I cannot find any evidence that this is true, 'technically' or otherwise; I find no evidence of planets being called satellites, or of stars orbiting other stars being called satellites. If "satellite" is never used in such a sense, why are we told that it is 'technically' possible? RandomCritic 07:55, 28 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Earth's New Temporary Moon


Someone with experience at editing pages should add this. It is the only known natural moon besides 'the Moon'. It's identified as "6R10DB9" see [5] --Daveonwiki 18:23, 5 April 2007 (UTC) See also [6] and [7]--Daveonwiki 11:39, 10 April 2007 (UTC) An article from Sky & Telescope [8]--Daveonwiki 18:00, 19 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Natural satellite vs. moon


It has been proposed at Uranus' natural satellites to revise the titles of all the (Planet)'s natural satellites articles to Moons of (planet), a change which obviously reflects on this page as well. I think it is better to have a single central place to discuss it, hence this section. RandomCritic 21:35, 13 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Good, though I don't think this page needs to change if the others do, since out of context "moon" means Luna. kwami 21:39, 13 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Nobody seems much to care one way or the other. Shall I just be "bold" and change the articles to match the footers? kwami 20:14, 17 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Yes! Saros136 00:05, 18 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Alright, all done. kwami 03:26, 18 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Incompatible statements


The start of the article says "There are 240 known moons", but the section "The definition of a moon" later says that there is no generally accepted definition of "moon" -- in particular, there is no fixed lower cutoff point for the size of a moon. It needs to be explained what definition the figure of 240 is using. Matt 11:45, 20 October 2007 (UTC).

Stable orbits of natural sattelites


There's something that really interests me, but what I seem to cannot find anywhere: When the mass of a planet and a moon are both given, can there be only one stable orbit for the moon or are there several? It seems the Moon and Io are of about the same mass and have about the same orbit, but jupiter is several hundred times the mass of earth. And how does speed come into the quotation? (talk) 16:38, 29 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

There are an infinite number of possible orbits. Any elliptical orbit with the proper speed and the center of mass at one of the foci is stable, unless there is interference, say from another moon or atmospheric drag. Tides and relativistic effects may add a slight spiral to the orbit, but otherwise it is still stable. Check orbit, and for the speed, orbital period. kwami (talk) 21:30, 29 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

New Moons


Though astronomers are regularly finding new small moons around distance planets, they are not finding any new moons around the inner planets. -- Kheider (talk) 09:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]



What exactly is meant by the image caption "Nineteen moons are large enough to be round..."? I was under the impression that all moons were "round" (or, more correctly, "spherical"). Fuzzform (talk) 23:56, 30 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Nope. The small ones are not. They're like asteroids. kwami (talk) 01:02, 1 October 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Tidal Locking


The tidal locking section is confusing. The first paragraph indicates that all moons in the solar system are tidally locked except one. The second paragraph then goes on to state that the outer moons of the gas giants are not tidally locked, which seems to contradict the first paragraph. Please could someone tidy this up?


The list of moons discovered for Saturn and Jupiter links are broken. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 10 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

short-lived natural satellite


The new article Meteor procession of February 9, 1913 uses "short-lived natural satellite" and this is being incorporated into the hook for Template talk:Did you know#Meteor Procession of February 9, 1913. If natural satellite is the correct term for this, have there been many other objects which could be considered a natural satellite of earth, and should we create a list of them? John Vandenberg (chat) 00:51, 27 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

See also Talk:Moon/Archive_10#Other_natural_satellites?. John Vandenberg (chat) 01:01, 27 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The term you are looking for is Temporary Satellite Capture (TSC). -- Kheider (talk) 08:06, 27 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you!. John Vandenberg (chat) 10:51, 31 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Semantics of "moon" vs "natural satellites"


I was under the impression that any celestial body that is orbiting a planet is classified as a natural satellite, and the name of Earth's natural satellite is "Moon." This is to say, there is a total of one (1) moon in existence, and it is ours. This article states contrary. If I am incorrect, as I may very well be, I think this article should at least mention the possible semantical difference. Dudemcman (talk) 02:40, 12 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]

You are correct about being incorrect, the words natural satellite and moon are synonyms. As for the article, the lead does mention that "Earth has one large natural satellite, known as the Moon". — Reatlas (talk) 09:53, 12 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
We should probably mention that "satellite planets" (secondary planets) were called "moons" after the Earth's moon. — kwami (talk) 10:10, 12 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Requested move 24 April 2016 (withdrawn)

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Withdrawn. Silence (talk) 22:13, 24 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Natural satelliteMoon (general term) – It seems that some sources (e.g., NASA) use the term "natural satellite" to refer to any object that orbits another, larger object -- including planets, asteroids, and comets. Other sources use "natural satellite" to refer only to moons. This makes the term ambiguous, and suggests we should systematically prefer the term "moon" over the term "natural satellite" for the latter purpose. (Lower-case "moon" is completely unambiguous.)

The current page is already inconsistent on this front, asserting e.g. that the Earth is a natural satellite, but then excluding non-moons from any further discussion of satellites and using the two as synonyms everywhere else.

If that's right, then the next question is what parenthetical we should use to distinguish the Moon article from this article. "Moon (natural satellite)" isn't good, because the Moon is a natural satellite. I tentatively suggest "Moon (general term)" by analogy with Cold war (general term), though I'd be happier with a parenthetical that referred to the objects and not to their name. (Are there good options?) This is, after all, an article about a certain kind of celestial object, not an article about a word. Silence (talk) 20:14, 24 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose per the naming conventions: Natural disambiguation (the current way) is preferred over explicit disambiguation (the proposed way). Note also that article are only in rare instances about terms/words. --JorisvS (talk) 20:38, 24 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move 24 April 2016

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved —  — Amakuru (talk) 11:19, 2 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Natural satellitePlanetary satellite – "Natural satellite" can refer to any celestial body that orbits a larger celestial body, including planets, asteroids, and comets. In contrast, "planetary satellite" specifically refers to moons, which is the subject matter of this article. The term is unambiguous, as I know of no example where "planetary satellite" is used to refer to an artificial satellite.

Examples of this usage:

Other terms that would work in place of "planetary satellite" include: moon; planetary moon. Silence (talk) 22:22, 24 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

  • 'Natural satellite' and 'planetary satellite' mean two different things. 'Planetary satellite' means 'moon', whereas 'natural satellite' means 'any celestial body that orbits a larger celestial body'. The current article is about moons, not about natural satellites; so a more accurate term for the topics covered in this article is 'planetary satellite'. It's possible there should also be an article about natural satellites in general, but it's not clear there'd be a lot to say about them. It might just look like a slightly modified version of astronomical object, which is itself a pretty sparse page. -Silence (talk) 12:54, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Natural satellite is certainly more common. The article explicitly identifies other kinds of moons as natural satellites too, no problem there. --QEDK (TC) 10:06, 25 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Planets, comets, and asteroids are also natural satellites; but the article only discusses satellites of planets (and secondarily, of asteroids and moons), ignoring the fact that planets, comets, and asteroids (and even stars and some larger structures) are natural satellites as well. Someone edited the article to add a nominal reference in the first paragraph to these other objects being natural satellites, but the article body is pretty clearly still about moons. (Which is why the first sentence also mistakenly says that "natural satellite" is a synonym for "moon".)
  • If you write an article about Furniture and then all the sections just discuss chairs, and there isn't currently an article called Chair, then the correct change is to move the page 'Furniture' to 'Chair' (thereby preserving its edit history, Talk page, etc. under the correct name) and then consider making a new article about Furniture if one is needed. (In this case, it's not clear to me one is needed, since there seems to be so much to say about moons but relatively little to say about natural-satellites-in-general that isn't covered by more specific articles.)
  • Just leaving the Furniture article chair-focused and adding a nominal mention or two of non-chair furniture in the lead section isn't addressing the problem, which is that the article's writers clearly thought it was about chairs and not about furniture (... and, of course, that we don't have an article about chairs anywhere). -Silence (talk) 12:54, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose. Aside from "natural satellite" being more common, it also includes minor-planet satellites that do not fall under "planetary satellite". @Proposer: Cut the crap, the article's title is quite fine. Don't look for a problem where there is actually none. --JorisvS (talk) 17:41, 25 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • "Natural satellite" also includes planets, comets, and asteroids. Is it your view that moons aren't a topic Wikipedia should cover in depth, i.e., they don't deserve their own article and this article should be rewritten to cover planets, comets, and asteroids in as much depth as it covers moons?
  • Also, do you have a source for minor-planet satellites not qualifying as planetary satellites? Sounds plausible enough, but I'd like to verify these classification claims; since we already have a minor-planet moon page, and I don't think anyone is proposing a merger, it seems fine in any case to have two distinct articles for minor-planet satellites and planetary satellites. Planetary moons deserve an article of their own more than minor-planet satellites do, and this article's current contents are only concerned with moons, not with other classes of natural satellite. -Silence (talk) 12:54, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • You claim "moon" specifically means a natural satellite of a planet. Do you have any evidence for that? As we currently have it having an article called minor-planet moon distinctly suggests otherwise. This article is supposed to be an overarching article, with minor-planet moon specifically about the ones of minor planets. --JorisvS (talk) 19:21, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm not claiming "moon" specifically means that, no. I may have spoken imprecisely, but my point is that this article is perhaps about moons of planets, or perhaps about moons of planets as well as minor planets (and moons of moons?), but is clearly not about natural satellites in general. Is it your view that Wikipedia ought to have an article specifically about minor-planet moons, but that Wikipedia should have no article specifically about moons of planets? If so, why? -Silence (talk) 00:48, 27 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose "Natural satellite" as stated above is far more common and is a blanket statement (which has a good purpose in this case) to include all satellites that have been formed naturally (not created by Humans or any other intelligent species). Davidbuddy9 Talk  01:42, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Keep in mind that this article was written primarily by editors who were trying to create an article about moons, and mistakenly thought that "natural satellite" was a synonym for "moon" -- i.e., this article was written in error by people who thought "natural satellite" meant "planetary satellite," or something very similar. This is why the article begins "A natural satellite, or moon is...."
  • This is clearer if you check out the edit history. In November 2015, NReedy121 tried editing the article to use the correct definition of "natural satellite", without bothering to edit the rest of the article to stop being about moons. These changes were then partly reverted, but not completely reverted, which resulted in the beginning of the article using "natural satellite" inconsistently: NReedy121's notes that a natural satellite can orbit a "star" and his example of the Earth as a natural satellite were retained, but his example of the Sun as a natural satellite was removed (presumably because he called the Sun a satellite of the Milky Way itself, and not of the Galactic Core), and "A natural satellite, or moon" was restored.
  • The fact that NReedy121's edits are inconsistent with the rest of the article can be seen easily from the fact that the Earth is listed as a natural satellite in the first paragraph, yet "there are 173 known natural satellites" only counts moons and simply ignores all planets, asteroids, etc. Also, like.. just look at the rest of the article. The entire thing is about moons. It assumes all natural satellites are moons with almost perfect consistency, with just an occasional anomalous interjection to the contrary. It's a bit like if the article Mammal had a brief correct definition but then exclusively discussed ungulates in the article body. -Silence (talk) 12:54, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
So instead we should modify the article to better fit with the definition of a Natural satellite rather that refactoring into different types (Planetary Satellite, Stellar Satellite, Galactic satellite. etc). These arguments fail to convince me that a move is required. Davidbuddy9 Talk  23:05, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Also Objects that orbit stars are planets/exoplanets. Even if the object in question does not meet the criteria of a Planet we would not call it a "Natural Satellite". Eg, We call Trans Neptunian objects that fail to meet planet status Trans Neptunian Objects, or more specific terms like KBO's if the object is in the Kuiper belt. I have not heard anyone call them "Natural Satellites" although it does meet the definition, it's not used like that in Scientific literature. What I do hear is that Charon is a Natural Satellite of Pluto, but not Pluto being a natural satellite of the Sun (Instead we call pluto a "Dwarf Planet"). Davidbuddy9 Talk  23:18, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • David: Is your argument then that Wikipedia should not have any article about moons of planets (or about moons in general)? If so, why? It strikes me as obvious that Wikipedia should have an article about at least one of those two things. I don't have a strong view about whether we should also have an article about celestial-bodies-that-orbit-larger-celestial-bodies in full generality; that seems possible, but it would look nothing like the current Natural satellite article, so the simplest change would be to move this article to a new title respecting its contents (since we clearly need some Wikipedia page that focuses on moons). If someone then wants to make a new article for the entire category of natural satellites, the fact that this page's name has been corrected won't stop them; it will clear the way. This strikes me as easier than dismantling a perfectly good article about moons when Wikipedia needs an article on that topic. -Silence (talk) 00:54, 27 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Silence: *sigh* not really, the argument I was making here is that no one calls planets natural satellites, but as for making articles on planets, the rules has changed making more difficult to make articles for planets exoplanets etc. on Wikipedia. Davidbuddy9 Talk  01:06, 29 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose In practice, natural satellite is essentially never used to refer to anything other than objects in orbit around objects orbiting stars. Stars, planets, comets, asteroids, and meteoroids are discussed using more specific terms. The only other usage that springs to mind is satellite galaxies, which are not ambiguous nor would lumping them in with the term natural satellite be of use to anyone. I can see how the usage is not very precise, and you could argue that these things are technically natural satellites, but the actual usage clearly is about moons. The term planetary satellite seems to only be used as a partial synonym that may or may not exclude minor planet moons. --Patteroast (talk) 21:03, 26 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • I guess I don't see the value of introducing that level of inconsistency? The current article defines 'natural satellite' to include planets. It even gives the Earth as an example of a natural satellite, in the very first paragraph. It then ignores this and treats 'natural satellite' as synonymous with 'moon' everywhere else. The people opposing this move seem split between folks who think this should be an article about moons (or moons of planets) and folks who think this should be an article about all celestial objects orbiting larger such objects. I don't see the value of the confusion, when we could just as easily rename this article 'moon (general term)' or (if we want an article specifically about moons of planets) 'planetary moon' or 'planetary satellite.' We certainly aren't forced to use an acknowledgedly imprecise and inconsistently utilized term in this case; there are lots of good options on offer. -Silence (talk) 00:58, 27 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Planets Aren't Natural Satellites?


OK, So if I try to look up moons in general, it redirects me here. I get here, and it tells me that 'natural satellite' also includes planets, giving the Earth as an example of a natural satellite because it orbits the Sun. But if "moon" means "natural satellite" and the Earth is a natural satellite, than the Earth is a moon. Okay, I guess, fine. But if you go to articles about the individual moons in the solar system, practically ALL Of their relative statistics ('this is the fifth largest moon in the solar system', etc.) are wrong, because you have to start comparing them to 'moons' like Earth and Saturn. Even more confusing are articles like the Titan article which say that Titan is the 'only natural satellite with a dense atmosphere', only to have Wikipedia tell me that the Earth (and presumably Jupiter) are natural satellites when I look up the meaning of the term.

You have a picture with the caption, "19 natural satellites are large enough to be round", and none of the planets- which you just got done stating are natural satellites, and are round the last time I checked- are included. And don't get me started about dwarf planets. Aren't some of them round? Don't they orbit the Sun? Are they not natural satellites?

Then you go on to list the largest natural satellites in the solar system, and none of the planets are included.

You have a Venn-like diagram clearly showing planets not included in "Satellites(natural)"

I've changed the opening line to read "a natural satellite (moon) is a celestial body that orbits a planet," removing the reference to planets being an example of a 'natural satellite'- your entire article contradicts this definition, as do many other articles, it's just bizarre to lead with it unless somebody is willing to engage in a massive rewrite of several articles across wikipedia. (talk) 07:17, 9 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

"In practice planets are not included" isn't good enough. Comets are not included, dwarf planets are not included, asteroids and other small bodies are not included, yet they meet the definition provided. The very next statement- about their being 173 natural satellites- contradicts the opening definition as written. It's pretty obvious this article used to just be 'moons', and somebody renamed it 'natural satellite' without realizing what a mess it made. (talk) 20:48, 9 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

20:36, 9 September 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The linked source says "A satellite is a moon, planet or machine that orbits a planet or star. For example, Earth is a satellite because it orbits the sun. Likewise, the moon is a satellite because it orbits Earth. Usually, the word "satellite" refers to a machine that is launched into space and moves around Earth or another body in space. Earth and the moon are examples of natural satellites." We do not get to change the definition. If this causes other problems in the article, those are the problems that need to be fixed. Rmhermen (talk) 00:12, 10 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The problem that needs to be fixed in this article is that THIS is an article about Moons, NOT natural satellites as your quoted source defines them. This is obvious if you actually read the article. Virtually every paragraph contains information that is patently false under the definition you just cited. Somebody obviously slap-dashedly changed the title from 'Moon' to 'Natural Satellite' and did a find-replace. One solution, I SUPPOSE could be to erase or edit all the information here that pertains only to moons, which would include basically all the pictures, and otherwise completely rework the article so that it matches the title. But then of course the question is "Where's the article on Moons?". Asteroids have an article. Planets have an article. Dwarf Planets have an article. Minor Planets have an article. So where's the 'moons' article? The answer, obviously, is that this IS the moons article- the title was just changed by a past, sloppy edit. So really, you got a choice if you want the article to be accurate- you can change the title back to 'moons' since that's what's actually being discussed here. You can completely rewrite the article so the content matches the title, leave people wondering why there's no moons article, and get rid of the redirect since it no longer makes any sense. What you can't do is redirect 'moons' to the 'natural satellites' article as if they are the same thing, while at the same time telling me planets are also natural satellites.

In other words, I'm not the one changing the definition. The definition was already changed by whoever thought it was appropriate to redirect 'moons' to 'natural satellites' as if they are coterminous. By the definition you just cited, redirecting 'moons' to 'natural satellites' makes as much sense as redirecting 'bears' to 'mammals'. What needs to happen is this article needs to be renamed "Moon", and a brief 'natural satellites' article needs to be created that lists and links to all the things that fall under the heading 'natural satellites'. But I don't know how to do half that stuff, and I'm a logician, not an astronomer, so I'm sure I'd butcher it. (talk) 05:47, 10 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Are the person(s) erroneously reverting this edit without comment even reading the article? Seriously, what are you doing? When the article says there are 173 natural satellites in the solar system, it is referring to Moons: cite: http://www.windows2universe.org/our_solar_system/moons_table.html

When the article says only 19 natural satellites are round and only one of them has an atmosphere, it is obviously talking about Moons. If 'natural satellite' includes planets, then you are presently STANDING on a natural satellite with an atmosphere.

The very first thing the article does is redirect 'moon' here, and then state that 'moon' is another word for 'natural satellite', it completely contradicts this to go on to say the Earth is a natural satellite.

When the picture halfway down the page compares the sizes of natural satellites to the sizes of planets, it implies that natural satellites and planets are not the same thing.

This article is about moons, not natural satellites. Stop misleading people. (talk) 21:52, 10 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

reliable sources defining natural satellite


Many people seem to think that "natural satellite" is basically a synonym of "moon", and that Earth is obviously not a natural satellite. (Such people include Wade Schmaltz, RandomCritic, JorisvS, Davidbuddy9, Patteroast, etc.)

Other people seem to think that while "moons of Jupiter" is a synonym of "natural satellites of Jupiter", Earth obviously is a natural satellite. These people say "Earth is a natural satellite of the sun", "A moon is a natural satellite that orbits a planet.", etc. (Such people include Rmhermen, MartinZ02, etc.)

Even though I lean towards agreeing with the first group of people, the second group of people have good references backing up their definition.[9] [10]

I don't think it's right to simply delete references merely because I don't agree with them. In the short term, perhaps we could continue using "natural satellite" in this article in a way that excludes Earth, but have a short section mentioning other definitions of "natural satellite" that includes Earth -- analogous to the way the Wikipedia prime number article generally uses that term in a way that excludes 1, but has a brief section Prime number#Primality of one mentioning that some definitions of "prime" define that term in a way that includes 1.

In the longer term, this article needs more reliable sources defining "natural satellite". After that, it should be obvious which one of:

  • (a) practically all our sources in the last 10 years prefer one definition, and the other definition(s) can be relegated to a historical footnote or perhaps omitted entirely from this article, (as per WP:WEIGHT), or
  • (b) practically all our sources in the last 10 years have avoided using the term, and instead use some other less ambiguous term (and this article should do the same, as per WP:Disambiguation), or
  • (c) practically all our sources in the last 10 years non-ambiguously define the term when they first use it (although different modern people define it different ways), and therefore we should do the same, arbitrarily picking whichever definition makes this article easier to read while also noting the other definition is still used by respected astronomers and therefore is not "wrong" (as per WP:YESPOV).

--DavidCary (talk) 02:58, 14 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

No, I think that the term 'moon' is preferable to 'natural satellite,' and have simply gone along with whatever vocal minority prefers the latter term. But your real issue is not with the term 'natural satellite' — chosen as an obvious antonym of 'artificial satellite' — but with the word 'satellite' itself, and its restriction to objects which orbit planets rather than stars — a usage which goes back to Kepler in 1611. If 'satellite' excludes objects orbiting a star (and we rarely if ever see references to Mercury, etc. as 'satellites' of the Sun), and if 'natural satellite' is not a technical term but simply the word 'satellite,' used in its general sense, modified by the word 'natural' (as opposed to artifical), then your search for reliable sources for the phrase 'natural satellite' is erroneously narrow.RandomCritic (talk) 14:08, 18 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I also question whether an online "Grade 5-8" primer qualifies as a reliable source, even if it does carry a NASA logo. I suggest a better approach than cherry-picking such online texts might be to consult works of reference that might actually be used by astronomers and astronomy students (of at least collegiate level). RandomCritic (talk) 14:12, 18 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that summarizing and citing such reference works in this article will make this article much better, so I added a little something.
Rather than bring up WP:CHERRYPICKING, I suggest a better approach might be to add citations in this article to the reference works you alluded to.
I trust that if I improve this article a little, and you improve this article a little, soon it will be a WP:GOOD article, and someday it will be a really great article. --DavidCary (talk) 17:10, 21 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]
It seems to me that if "Is Natural Satellite Synonymous with Moon" is controversial enough that there is no definitive resolution on the horizon, then we should seperate them for the sake of the readers. It must be quite jarring for most readers to find that Wikipedia calls moons 'natural satellites' as if that's the more appropriate term. If there's no concensus that it's even true, why foster that confusion? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Agkistro (talkcontribs) 19:29, 4 October 2016 (UTC)[reply]

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satellites of comets


Are there any known moons of comets? If not it may deserve a mention in the article of why they don't occur. Rmhermen (talk) 01:35, 30 January 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Remove minor planet terminology


The term 'minor planet' is no longer used; in its place are dwarf planets and SSSBs. Yet, this article is full of occurrences of the phrase. Why? I say they should be removed. (talk) 07:35, 5 February 2019 (UTC)[reply]

initial capitals


The earth and the moon don't need these. The preceding article identifies them. The moon is the moon, while Phobos and Demos are moons. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 27 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Problems with Natural Satellites


Well let me start with the 4 problems


1:too big (Moon , Charon) both very large to the point it looks more like a double planet system

2:too small (2020 CD3 and other Saturn related moonlets) with the new earth moon found its only 1 to 6 meters across...


3:it will one day get closer and closer and crash (Triton and Phobos) wont last forever and hit there planets

4:This is the new problem the main reason i made this new section, it will keep getting futher away till it de orbits earth and orbits the sun (2020 CD3) while there were 2 others in the past , they where already gone when we were sure to be not man made , however this one is still orbiting earth until sometime in april...

im pretty sure the moon and charon are talk about alot , and well phobos and tritan will take a while to crash, the thing is what about very small objects or objects that are about to deorbit? do we also add them into the Natural satellite list? in a way adding them or not adding them is and isnt correct the same time since there is no official definition for objects like this.

the 2 planets having the problems are Earth and Saturn right now. Joshoctober16 (talk) 00:09, 28 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for speedy deletion


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Intro is outdated; "moon" is now in common use again


The intro now says "there is only THE moon" but further down the article correctly states that the phrase 'moon' has regained acceptability in recent years, even in Scientific papers. And often times, the phrase natural satellite is now only used when it's necessary to avoid ambiguity with the Moon in that article or text. Or people just write "Earth's Moon" to clear that up.

So anyway I think that sentence in the intro should be changed. Greetings, RagingR2 RagingR2 (talk) 16:52, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Opposed. We should not sway to colloquialisms pushed by the media. Let's not trample over words and their meanings and mill them to create a semantical mess. What will be next? Calling planets "Earths"? Star, planet, satellite. That's the correct terminology. Colloquialisms exist and should be noted as such, nothing more. Lajoswinkler (talk) 10:42, 9 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I totally agree with the OP. Many scientific sources including NASA use the term "moon", just look at the sources in the lede of Moons of Saturn (sic!). Wikipedia must follow the sources, it's not our job to decide which word is the "correct terminology" or a "colloquialism".Roentgenium111 (talk) 10:09, 15 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

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History of the moons as planets


Recently I came across Metzger 2021 which explored the history of the term planet, mentioning that astronomers such as Cassini, Herschel, and Proctor consider moons to be planets well into the 1920s. Combined with the lack of citation for the passage about the post-Galileo discoverers using terms to distinguish moons from primary planets, I believe it is a good idea to properly update the history of the term. AstroChara (talk) 00:49, 31 May 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed! I updated Planet some time ago, but not all the other WP pages. Double sharp (talk) 13:29, 8 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I am currently seeing if I can write a replacement for the current section, but I'm not sure how in depth I should go here. Should we write about folk taxonomy and its eventual acceptance by scientists, for example. AstroChara (talk) 17:20, 20 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Move discussion in progress


There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Moon which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 17:34, 10 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]