Blue Sky Science: How Are Moons Made?

— Rebekah Neuman, Madison, Wis..

A Jim Lattis, director of UW Space Place in University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Is really a moon, and moons can form in a number of ways.

For example, Jupiter has four large moons known as the Galilean moons. Those moons resemble a tiny solar system together with Jupiter acting the role of the sun. From the innermost to the surface, the Galilean moons reveal a variation in size and composition in a way that’s similar to the planets of our solar system.

Those moons look like they shaped along with Jupiter, using the whole system created together.

Our own Earth’s moon, on the other hand, failed to form along with the Earth. The current concept, supported by proof, is that our moon caused an accident which occurred quite early in the solar system.

The object that would finally become Earth collided with the other object. This second object was destroyed in the crash, and the crash debris turned to our heavens.

Occasionally a moon is made when a world captures it pulls it into its own orbit. Mars’ two quite little, asteroid-like moons are perhaps asteroids which Mars captured in the local asteroid belt.

Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons, is particularly intriguing. It is a really complicated world with a temperature which enables fluids, such as methane and other hydrocarbons, to exist in liquid, frozen and vapor type.

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This is comparable to what is occurring on Earth with water. We have ice, liquid water and water vapor all interacting in our weather and climate system.