How Big is Our Moon Compared to Other Moons

How Big is Our Moon Compared to Other Moons

Moons are natural satellites that rotate around a planet. Moons vary in size relative to each other, but all moons are much smaller than the planet that they orbit. Since the planets are all vastly different sizes though, two moons are actually larger than the planet Mercury, and several moons are significantly larger than the dwarf planet Pluto. Almost 140 moons are known to exist in the Solar System. Mercury and Venus are the only planets that do not have moons, while Jupiter has the largest number of discovered moons compared to any other planet.

Earth�s moon is one of the larger natural satellites, ranking as the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. Its diameter is 2,160 miles across. However, in comparison, the largest moon�Jupiter�s moon Ganymede�is bigger than both Mercury and Pluto. Ganymede has a diameter of 3,270 miles. Conversely, the smallest recorded moon is Deimos, which orbits around Mars. Its diameter is a mere seven miles. Other tiny moons as small as one mile in diameter may exist too. Small shepherd moons, the term for small bodies that orbit around the outer edges of planetary rings or in between the gaps of the rings, have been found around Jupiter and Saturn. There are also may be many small moons that are asteroids captured by the gravitational pull of their planet in the further reaches of the Outer Solar System.

Charon, Pluto�s moon, used to be considered the moon closest in size relative to its planet. In recent years though, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet rather than an actual planet. Pluto only meets two of the three criterion for being a planet. While it does orbit the sun and has enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape, it is not the dominant gravitational body in its orbit. Instead of a planet, it is now considered one of several large bodies that make up a part of the Kuiper belt.

As a result, Earth�s moon is now the closest in size to its planet, being about a quarter of the diameter of Earth. The Inner Solar System has only three moons�Mars has two and Earth has one, so the majority of moons are found in the Outer Solar System, with more being discovered each year. Jupiter has the most moons by far with a staggering 62 currently identified. Saturn comes in second with 33 moons.

So how big is our moon in comparison? Earth�s moon is the fifth largest moon. In comparison to the relatively small size of Earth though, it is extremely large. In fact, it is the largest moon with regards to the relative size of its planet. Earth�s single moon may not be much of a comparison to the legions of moons that the planets in the Outer Solar System have amassed, but our moon certainly isn�t small in stature.

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