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The solar system has too many moons – it’s time for a cull


Scientist

The solar system has too many moons – it’s time for a cull

Designating rocks just a few kilometres across as moons is misleading and ridiculous. We need to do a Pluto and cut moons down to size, argues Leah Crane Space | Comment 23 October 2019 By Leah Crane Josie FordOK, WHAT I’m about to say may cause some distress. You remember how it was with Pluto?…

The solar system has too many moons – it’s time for a cull

Designating rocks just a few kilometres across as moons is misleading and ridiculous. We need to do a Pluto and cut moons down to size, argues Leah Crane



Space


| Comment

23 October 2019

By Leah Crane

New Scientist Default Image

Josie Ford

OK, WHAT I’m about to say may cause some distress. You remember how it was with Pluto? In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to downgrade the much-loved ninth planet to a mere dwarf planet. More than a decade later, it seems some people still haven’t gotten over it. But I’m still going to say it: things are getting a little out of hand with the solar system’s moons.

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On 7 October, astronomers announced the discovery of 20 moons around Saturn. This took the total number of moons in the solar system to 214. The …

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