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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
Luna is the only natural satellite of planet Earth, which it orbits approximately every 28 days. The first spacecraft to land on it was the Soviet Union's Luna 2, which was unmanned. This was in 1959. Subsequently, the moon was the focus of NASA's Apollo program (1961 - 1972) that saw six missions successfully land men on the moon. Altogether 12 astronauts have walked on the moon, and Alan Shepard famously played golf there.
Phobos is one of the two moons of Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. Its other moon is Deimos. These two names mean 'fear' and 'terror' respectively. Mars, often called 'the red planet', owes its coloration to the large amounts of iron oxide contained in its surface.
The planet Saturn, best known for its rings, is the second largest in our solar system and the sixth from the sun. Titan is by far the largest of Saturn's moons, of which there are known to be 62 at the time of writing. In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities descended from Gaia and Uranus.
Along with Saturn, Jupiter is the other gas giant in our solar system. It is the biggest of all our planets and is the fifth from the sun. It is named after the king of the gods in Roman mythology. Its four major moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
They are known as Galilean moons because they were first discovered by Galileo. They rank among the largest natural satellites in the solar system. In all, Jupiter has 79 identified moons in 2019.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and has 27 known natural satellites, named for characters in the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Titania is one of Uranus's five major moons and is named after the queen of the fairies in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Uranus's other major moons are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel and Oberon. Uranus appears blue because the methane in its atmosphere absorbs red light and reflects blue light.
Pluto was the first object to be discovered orbiting in the Kuiper belt, which lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was originally described as the ninth planet from the sun, but was declassified to the status of dwarf planet after other bodies of comparable size and larger were identified in the Kuiper belt.
This led to a re-definition by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) of the term 'planet', which in turn led to Pluto's declassification. Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld.
It has five moons, of which Charon is the largest.
Neptune is the eighth and outermost planet from the sun. It is the fourth largest of our planets and the densest of the giant planets. Like Uranus, it appears blue because its atmosphere absorbs red light and reflects blue light. It was named after the Roman god of the sea because of its blue coloration.
It has a Great Dark Spot, comparable to Jupiter's Great Red Spot and similarly caused by weather patterns, including the strongest winds in the solar system. Neptune has 14 known moons, of which Triton is the largest.
It is named for the Greek god of the sea, son of Poseidon.
Umbriel is one of the five major moons of Uranus, along with Titania, Miranda, Ariel and Oberon. It is named after a character in Alexander Pope's poem, 'The Rape of the Lock'. Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and appears blue on account of the methane in its upper atmosphere.
Europa is the smallest of the Galilean moons that orbit Jupiter, so called because it was Galileo who first discovered them. The others are Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and is known for its Great Red Spot, which is a storm that has been raging for centuries. Europa is named for the daughter of a king of Phoenicia. According to Greek mythology, Europa was very beautiful and attracted the love of Zeus, who approached her in the form of a white bull and carried her off to Crete.
Rhea is the second largest of the 62 known moons of Saturn. It is named for the Titan of the same name, also known as the 'mother of the gods'. Saturn is one of the two gas giants in our solar system, along with Jupiter. Saturn is best known for its system of rings consisting predominantly of water ice. Saturn was the subject of the Cassini project that saw a robotic spacecraft in space for nearly 20 years with 13 of these spent orbiting Saturn.