How many moons are in space?

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sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Unfortunately, there isn't a specific number that I can give you regarding the number of moons in space.  The best answer is probably an infinite amount.  Space is hard to put limits of "space" on, because there is a difference between how many moons could be in the observable universe vs. how many moons are in the entire universe.  We have no idea how large the entire universe is (likely infinite), but we believe the observable universe to be in the ballpark of 92 billion light years in diameter.  Of course that number will continue to get bigger as more light from the expanding universe reaches us.  

For "simplicity" let's just take the observable universe.  Stars are contained within giant clusters of stars called galaxies.  Galaxies contain hundreds of billions of starts and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies within the observable universe. That's a lot of stars.  Recently, astronomers released a statement/analysis that claims there is likely at least one planet orbiting each and every star. That's a lot of potential planets to have possible moons.  

Not every planet is guaranteed to have a moon.  Mercury and Venus have none. But the remaining planets in our solar system have one or more. In fact NASA lists 146 confirmed moons in our solar system and 27 that are awaiting confirmation. That's an average of 24 moons per planet within our solar system. So if other stars have similar setups then the number of possible moons "in space" is more or less impossible to calculate. 

Of course, if your question is just asking about our solar system, then 146 moons. 

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sid-sarfraz's profile pic

sid-sarfraz | Student, Graduate | (Level 2) Salutatorian

Posted on

Moon

The earth's natural satellite that shines by the sun's reflected light, revolves about the earth from west to east in about 291⁄2 days with reference to the sun or about 271⁄3 days with reference to the stars, and has a diameter of 2160 miles (3475 kilometers), a mean distance from the earth of about 238,900 miles (384,400 kilometers), and a mass about one eightieth that of the earth.

Moons -- also called satellites -- come in many shapes, sizes and types. They are generally solid bodies, and few have atmospheres. Most of the planetary moons probably formed from the discs of gas and dust circulating around planets in the early solar system.

Solar system

The Sun together with the nine planets, their moons, and all other bodies that orbit it, including asteroids, comets,meteoroids, and Kuiper belt objects. The outer limit of the solar system is formed by the   heliopause.

Number of moons in space:-

There are 166 natural satellites in our solar system. Moons divided amongst the planets:-

Mercury and Venus                 0.
Earth                                    1.
Mars                                     2.
Jupiter                                63.
Saturn                                60.
Uranus                                27.
Neptune                              13.

The number of known moos has been steadily growing with the improvement of technology.

Moons of our solar system

Earth
1. Earth's Moon 

Mars
2. Phobos 
3. Deimos 

Jupiter
4. Io 
5. Europa 
6. Ganymede 
7. Callisto 
8. Amalthea 
9. Himalia 
10. Elara 
11. Pasiphae 
12. Sinope 
13. Lysithea 
14. Carme 
15. Ananke 
16. Leda 
17. Thebe 
18. Adrastea 
19. Metis 
20. Callirrhoe 
21. Themisto 
22. Megaclite 
23. Taygete 
24. Chaldene 
25. Harpalyke 
26. Kalyke 
27. Iocaste 
28. Erinome 
29. Isonoe 
30. Praxidike 
31. Autonoe 
32. Thyone 
33. Hermippe 
34. Aitne 
35. Eurydome 
36. Euanthe 
37. Euporie 
38. Orthosie 
39. Sponde 
40. Kale 
41. Pasithee 
42. Hegemone 
43. Mneme 
44. Aoede 
45. Thelxinoe 
46. Arche 
47. Kallichore 
48. Helike 
49. Carpo 
50. Eukelade 
51. Cyllene 
52. Kore 
53. Herse 

Saturn
54. Mimas 
55. Enceladus 
56. Tethys 
57. Dione 
58. Rhea 
59. Titan 
60. Hyperion 
61. Iapetus 
62. Erriapus 
63. Phoebe 
64. Janus 
65. Epimetheus 
66. Helene 
67. Telesto 
68. Calypso 
69. Kiviuq 
70. Atlas 
71. Prometheus 
72. Pandora 
73. Pan 
74. Ymir 
75. Paaliaq 
76. Tarvos 
77. Ijiraq 
78. Suttungr 
79. Mundilfari 
80. Albiorix 
81. Skathi 
82. Siarnaq 
83. Thrymr 
84. Narvi 
85. Methone 
86. Pallene 
87. Polydeuces 
88. Daphnis 
89. Aegir 
90. Bebhionn 
91. Bergelmir 
92. Bestla 
93. Farbauti 
94. Fenrir 
95. Fornjot 
96. Hati 
97. Hyrrokkin 
98. Kari 
99. Loge 
100. Skoll 
101. Surtur 
102. Greip 
103. Jarnsaxa 
104. Tarqeq 
105. Anthe 
106. Aegaeon 

Uranus
107. Cordelia 
108. Ophelia 
109. Bianca 
110. Cressida 
111. Desdemona 
112. Juliet 
113. Portia 
114. Rosalind 
115. Mab 
116. Belinda 
117. Perdita 
118. Puck 
119. Cupid 
120. Miranda 
121. Francisco 
122. Ariel 
123. Umbriel 
124. Titania 
125. Oberon 
126. Caliban 
127. Stephano 
128. Trinculo 
129. Sycorax 
130. Margaret 
131. Prospero 
132. Setebos 
133. Ferdinand 

Neptune
134. Triton 
135. Nereid 
136. Naiad 
137. Thalassa 
138. Despina 
139. Galatea 
140. Larissa 
141. Proteus 
142. Halimede 
143. Psamathe 
144. Sao 
145. Laomedeia 
146. Neso 

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rachellopez's profile pic

rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

We could never know exactly how many moons are in space, but there is a pretty good estimate for the moons just in our solar system. According to NASA, there are 146 confirmed moons in the solar system and 27 are waiting to be confirmed as moons. The moons of dwarf planets and the moons that orbit things like asteroids are not included. NASA's definition of a moon is as follows:

"They are generally solid bodies, and few have atmospheres. Most of the planetary moons probably formed from the discs of gas and dust circulating around planets in the early solar system."

It is likely more moons will be discovered in later years.

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ssandhu05's profile pic

ssandhu05 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

There's no real answer to that, since our universe is so large and ever-expanding that it would be hard to count or even estimate how many stars there are. However, we do know the number of moons that orbit each of the planets in our solar system, and how many total moons that is. There are 146 moons in our solar system, and many of those moons are Jupiter's moons. And only one of those moons is ours. 

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