My middle school students will be working on reports on the moons of the outer solar system this week. When I was in middle school, the gas giants had what we thought were a lot of moons, but that number has greatly increased as telescopes have improved and probes have been sent to the outer solar system.
|Planet||Number of moons (1975)||Number of moons (2007)|
As more moons are discovered, their diameters are becoming smaller. The following table shows the average diameter of moons discovered in orbit around Jupiter for various time periods:
|Time period||Average diameter of moons discovered (km)|
- How many moons will we say Jupiter has when we can observe rocks only 100 meters in diamter?
- Will there be another astronomical crisis when Jupiter has 1000 moons? Will astronomers have to debate the question, “What is a moon?” just like they had to go through the “What is a planet?” issue?
Grace and Peace