What is a Moon’s Real Name?

May 7, 2015 - Supermoon

We call it a Moon, but… what’s a genuine name? You know, a name that scientists call a Moon.

As of 2015, there are 146 central moons in a Solar System, and afterwards another 27 provisional moons, who are still watchful on a standing of their application. All central moons have names after gods or Shakespeare characters. Names like Callisto, Titan, or Prometheus. But there’s one moon in a Solar System with a super tedious name… a one you’re many informed with: Moon.

But come on, that’s such a tedious name. Clearly that’s usually a common name. So what’s a Moon’s genuine name? Its systematic name. The neato cold name. Like Krelon, Krona, Avron or Mua’Dib.

Galileo and his Telescope

Are we prepared for this? The answer is: The Moon. Here’s some hand-waving and forgive making. Really, this is a possess damn fault. Until Galileo initial incited his telescope to a skies in 1610, and satisfied that Jupiter had small spots of light orbiting around it, astronomers had no thought other planets had moons.

Humans have been around for a few hundred thousand years, and a Moon was a informed intent in a sky. We’ve usually had justification of other moons for a small over 400 years. We didn’t collectively know a Earth was a universe until Copernicus grown a heliocentric indication of a Solar System.

We still have a small difficulty with that, even yet we’re banishment a examine directly during a Sun. We didn’t give into a thought that a Sun was a star until recently. Giordano Bruno due a thought in 1590 and we burnt him during a interest for suggesting it. Seriously, we can’t glance during this any longer. Yes, we’re awful. I’m going to speak about “the Moon” again.

Scientists systematise a Moon as a healthy satellite. Somehow this helps heed it from a synthetic satellites we’ve been rising for a final 60 years.

High fortitude print map of a moon's distant side imaged by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Mare Moscoviense lies during top left and Tsiolkovsky during reduce left. Click for a hi res image. Credit: NASA

High fortitude print map of a moon’s distant side imaged by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA

What about terms like “Luna”? That’s Latin for Moon. It’s not an central pretension or systematic term, though ooh, fancy. Latin.

If we wish to make certain people know you’re articulate about “The Moon” and not “a moon”, it’s all about capitalization. Put a collateral “M” in front of “oon” and you’re good to go.

The name of a solar system? It’s a Solar System (again, capitalized). Our galaxy? The Galaxy with a collateral G. The universe? Capital U Universe.

What about a Sun? Isn’t it “sol”? That’s usually a Latin word for “sun”. Helios? Greek God chronicle of a Sun.

If we ever learn that we’re unequivocally vital in a multiverse, we’ll need to give those other universes names. And people will consternation what a tangible central pretension is for a Universe. I’ll make another video when that happens, we promise.

The central recommendation from a International Astronomical Union, who are a people you’re still insane during about Pluto, is that a capitalization is what creates a definition.

Supermoon by a clouds on Sep 9, 2014. Credit and copyright: scul-001 on Flickr.

Supermoon by a clouds on Sep 9, 2014. Credit and copyright: scul-001 on Flickr.

Not everybody in a universe adheres to a capitalization so carefully, that can tend to some confusion. Are we articulate about a object or a Sun? As someone who writes space articles, let me assure you, messing this adult will light adult a comments territory with “Which is improved Deep Space 9 vs. Voyager” turn of biting all caps screaming.

Calling it “the Moon” is kind of boring, though that’s usually since systematic find has pushed a bargain of a Universe so distant out. It’s extraordinary to consider that we’ve detected so many other moons in a Solar System, and soon, we’ll find them around other stars.

So, for now it’s The Universe. When we find others, this one will still be THE Capital-U Universe and a new ones will be Nimoy and Sagan and Clarke.

Why don’t we give a Moon a new name. Something with a small some-more razzle-dazzle. Make your suggestions in a comments below. Alternately, advise a imagination Latin name of “Guide to Space”, I’ve got dibs on “Aether Libris”.

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Fraser Cain is a publisher of Universe Today. He’s also a co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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