Satellites of Planets
Set by Mel Kinsey
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For the answers
1/ Of the five satellites of Pluto, Charon, named for the boatman, is well-known. Can you name the other four named for: (a) The Mother of Charon and the goddess of darkness
(b) The Serpent that guards the underworld
(c) The Dog
(d) The River
2/ Both Phobos (“fear”) and Deimos (“dread”) of Mars were discovered by this American astronomer in 1877.
They were named after these beings that helped Mars.
Asaph Hall; The horses that pulled his chariot
3/ Other than Pluto, the Solar System has four other prominent dwarf planets and of these, Ceres in the asteroid belt has no moons. Can you name the others from the names of their moons and other clues?
(a) Its moon is Dysnomia and it is named after the goddess of strife in Greek myth
(b) Its moon is nicknamed MK2 and its repeating name is from the creator of humanity in the myth of the people of Easter Island
(c) Its two moons are Namaka and Hi'iaka and it is named after the goddess of fertility in Hawaiian myth
(a) Eris (b) MakeMake (c) Haumea
4/ Because Mimas the moon of Saturn contains a very noticeable crater (Herschel), it is jocularly compared to this super weapon of a certain movie franchise.
The three moons of Uranus named after characters in Pope's The Rape of the Lock are?
(a) Also a character in The Tempest and the spirit who helps Prospero
(b) Suggests a shadow
(c) First name of the lead singer of the Go-Go's
(a) Ariel (b) Umbriel (c) Belinda
6./ The third-largest moon of Saturn is unusual in having one hemisphere brighter than the other first observed by its discoverer Giovanni Cassini. It is also the name of a large ancient ocean in Earth's history which in turn was named for the father of Atlas in Greek myth.
7/ Moons that use their gravity to “collect” various debris and help in keeping the form of a planet’s ring are called these. Some examples are: Amalthea, Metis, Adrastea, and Thebe of Jupiter; Prometheus, Daphnis, and Pan of Saturn; Ophelia and Cordelia of Uranus.
8/ The seven largest satellites in the Solar System (those bigger than 2,500 km across) in order are Jupiter’s Galilean moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa), Saturn’s Titan THIS ONE and Neptune’s Triton.
9/ This German astronomer who had a lot to say about how planets move coined the word “satellite” from the Latin satelles meaning companion/attendant.
10/Saturn’s largest moon is full of watery bodies made of methane and other hydrocarbons and because of the presence of these organic materials, it is a candidate for the possibility of life. NASA’s proposed Dragonfly mission is planned to visit it in 2034.
11/ The largest moon of the Solar System, this orbiter of Jupiter has a magnetic field, a very thin oxygen atmosphere and an ocean said to contain more water than all of Earth’s oceans combined. In mythology, he was carried away by the gods for his physical beauty and became their cupbearer. The word “catamite”, meaning a boy kept for homosexual practices, comes from his name.
12/ Till date, though none have been discovered (owing to the difficulty of observing them with present-day technology), in September 2019, it was reported that the observed fluctuations in the brightness of Tabby’s Star in the constellation Cygnus might have been caused by one of these. Given the context of the quiz, can you guess what they are?
Exomoon (satellite of an exoplanet)
13/ This satellite of Neptune is the largest irregularly shaped moon and takes its name from the shape-changing sea god of Greek mythology.
14/ European Space Agency’s mission, whose name is also the nickname of O.J. Simpson, that is currently slated for a 2022 launch and which will study Jupiter’s moons.
Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE)
15/ Discovered in 1995 by the Galileo probe, Dactyl is an unusual moon for this reason
It orbits Ida, an asteroid
16/ Smallest of the four Galilean moons, it is named after the Phoenician mother of King Minos of Crete and lover of Zeus and contains the smoothest surface of any solid object in the Solar System.
17/ Uranus’s largest moons that are named for characters from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Titania and Oberon
18/ The surface of this second largest moon of Jupiter is said to be the oldest in the Solar System and it has been suggested for future use as a human base to study the Jovian system. In Greek myth, she was the hunting companion of Artemis and bore the son of Zeus who was named Arcus, the eponymous hero of Arcadia.
19/ Rhea and Iapetus were given their names based on a suggestion of John Herschel (son of William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus) as they were these siblings of Cronus (Saturn) in Greek myth
20/ This satellite of Saturn has a surface covered mostly with ice with a likely ocean underneath and is also known to contain geysers. For this reason, it is high on the list of places that are probed for the possibility of life.
21/ With over 400 active volcanoes, this moon of Jupiter is the most geologically active place in the Solar System and it is believed to be because of the influence of the mother planet and its other moons.
24/ The largest moon of Neptune, it is mostly frozen nitrogen, and its crust is made of water ice, and it has an icy mantle. The only mission to visit it was Voyager 2 in 1989. It is also the only large moon with a retrograde orbit (circles its planet in a direction opposite to the planet’s rotation). Name comes from the son of the sea god Poseidon in Greek myth, and the name is also a generic term for a merman.
23/ In 2005, when this lander successfully touched down on Titan, it became the farthest landing from Earth a spacecraft has ever made. Appropriately it was named for the Dutch astronomer and polymath who discovered the moon in 1655.
24/ Of all the moons that orbit Saturn, Epimetheus and this other “two-faced” moon have nearly the same orbit. They never crash into each other because of complex interplay of their mutual gravitational attraction
25/ Which moon of Saturn shares its name with a Titan God and the winner of the 1933 Epsom Derby