Trivia: How many moons does the solar system have: less than or more than 200?

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Solar System < Cosmology < Science

How many moons does our solar system have?

The solar system has more than 200 moons, and currently, the number sits at 297! That’s a great trivia answer if you can remember that at a future trivia night.

Let’s explore our planets and moons.

First up, the planets. The solar system has 8 planets, not 9, because Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet, and we currently have 4 of them. In the lead-up to 2006, three new planets were identified, but there was some question as to what constitutes a planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU), responsible for classifying celestial bodies, decided in 2006 to redefine the criteria for what constitutes a planet. So, instead of going from 9 to 12 planets, we went from 9 to 8 planets plus 4 dwarf planets. The 4 dwarf planets do not have clear orbits, and that’s what holds them back.

In the years leading up to 2006, the dwarf planets Haumea, Eris, and Makemake were discovered. Haumea even has two moons, and Eris and Makemake have one moon each. Did you know Pluto has moons too? It has five! To clarify, a moon is a natural satellite that orbits a planet or dwarf planet.

While we have 1 moon, Mars has 2. The outer gas giants Jupiter and Saturn have the bulk of the moons at 95 and 146, respectively. The ice giants Uranus and Neptune have 28 and 16. All this adds up to 297 moons! A great trivia question and answer, well, for now as we will almost certainly find more.

Image: Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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