Are moons common?

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indepth

Guest
Hey guys, just curious to know how common moons are in the universe? I know there are many in our solar system so I would suspect they are very common? Could like live on a planet with no moon?
 
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dragon04

Guest
Using our Solar System as a model and what we believe about planetary formation and such, I'd say that moons are common throughout the entire Universe.

As far as life being possible on planets without moons? Certainly.
 
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Shpaget

Guest
Observing planets around stars other than Sun if very difficult. Figuring out if they have moons will have to wait for some technological advancement.
But judging from our star system they shouldn't be too uncommon. Saying anything other than this is pure speculation.
 
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robnissen

Guest
Agreed that this is all speculation. But based on the solar system, "moons" appear common, but the "Moon" may be uncommon. According to current theory, for our moon to form, there had to be two planets form with orbits stable enough for the planets to form over millions of years, but unstable enough for the planets to eventually collide. How common such a scenario would be is unknown, but at the very least it appeared to only happen once in our Solar System.

While life should be possible without moons, it appears that our Moon greatly accellerated the process of evolution in two ways. First, the collision that formed the moon may have also created the plate tectonics that allows for energy hot spots for new life to use. Also without plate tectonics, all land would have eroded such that the Earth would be covered in water, which while not necessarily harmful to life, is certainly harmful to us. Second, the moon creates tidal pools which allow for different environments which encourages organisms to adopt (evole) to fit the different envirnoments. Thus, tidal pools may have greatly speeded up evolutionary processes.
 
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indepth

Guest
robnissen":321v3ubj said:
How common such a scenario would be is unknown, but at the very least it appeared to only happen once in our Solar System.
What about the 'moons' of Saturn? Were they formed the same way as Earth's?

Thanks to all, very helpful.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Probably not. Earth's Moon is unique in the solar system with the possible exception of Pluto's Charon which also was likely formed in an impact event (along with the much smaller Nix and Hydra).

The gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) all have two types of moons. The "regular" satellites which probably formed more like how the planets formed around the sun, and "irregular" moons that are most likely captured asteroids.

Neptune's Triton may also be a captured dwarf planet.
 
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indepth

Guest
Thanks MW. Does anyone know of a good site that explains in some detail how planets are formed and what they are made of? Or if anyone cares to reply in their own words that works too :D
 
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3488

Guest
Hi indepth, big welcome to SDC.

You may find this useful.

JPL Planetary Formation feature. It also contains a link to the Spitzer Space Telescope site, of which Planetary Formation studies was a major element of the mission.

Andrew Brown.
 
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indepth

Guest
3488":3e7td0fu said:
Hi indepth, big welcome to SDC.

You may find this useful.

JPL Planetary Formation feature. It also contains a link to the Spitzer Space Telescope site, of which Planetary Formation studies was a major element of the mission.

Andrew Brown.
Much appreciated, thanks!
 
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