Local Newspaper Report

written by Mike Lewis

General Information

These reports appear in the last Thursday of the month (before our monthly meeting held on the first Thursday of the month) editions of the 'Clacton and Frinton Gazette' and the 'Harwich and Manningtree Standard' in their 'Neighbourhood News' sections

Moons of the Solar System

by Mike Haynes

2nd November 2017

At the last count around 183 moons have been discovered. The first moons beyond Earth were discovered by Gallileo and were the four moons of Jupiter. Only a small number of moons discovered by spacecraft are more than 100km across and only 19 are large enough to be rounded by gravity and most of the moons orbit around large gas giants.

Mars has 2 irregular shaped moons Probos and Demos, Juipiter has at least 69 moons the four largest being IO, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, Saturn has 62 known moons with 7 large moons the largest being Titan plus a ring system, Uranus has 27 known moons with five large moons and Neptune has 14 known moons the largest being Triton which has a retrograde orbit and is thought to be a captured moon.

All moons were thought to be inactive until a recent space probe discovered that IO was found to have eruptions that throw gas and dust 500km into space which is thought to be caused by the interaction between Jupiter and the moons Europa and Ganymede.

Titan is the only moon with a dense atmosphere of nitrogen; it has lakes of methane, clouds and even rain of hydrocarbons and features very similar to those on Earth albeit at a much lower temperature. Other moons of the giant outer planets uranus, neptune are also showing impact crators and strange icy features similar to those on the Earth.