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Quiz about The Moons of Neptune
Quiz about The Moons of Neptune

The Moons of Neptune Trivia Quiz


Neptune was the eighth planet discovered in our solar system, and was a latecomer to the game, being discovered 65 years after Uranus. And only one of its many moons was discovered before the 20th century. What do you know of them?

A multiple-choice quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
reedy
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
372,160
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
427
Last 3 plays: Aph1976 (8/10), Guest 64 (4/10), angostura (10/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Neptune was discovered by Johann Galle and Urbain Le Verrier on September 23rd, 1846. Only seventeen days later, William Lassell discovered its first (and largest) moon. What is its name? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. A second moon was not discovered around Neptune until over a century later. Which Dutch astronomer, whose name also adorns a belt (containing three dwarf planets) beyond Neptune, discovered Nereid in 1949? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Larissa, the third Neptunian moon to be discovered, was observed while four astronomers (Reitsema, Hubbard, Lebofsky and Tholen) were looking for a ring around Neptune.


Question 4 of 10
4. No further Neptunian moons were discovered until the 1989 flyby of a spacecraft that was launched from Earth on August 20th, 1977. Which space probe was it? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The arrival of the space probe in 1989 confirmed the existence of Larissa, as well as five other inner moons. Which of these inner moons, named for the freshwater nymphs of Greek mythology, is the innermost moon of Neptune? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Which of Neptune's other inner moons, named for an early Greek god of 'elusive sea change', is the second largest Neptunian moon? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. All of Neptune's inner moons are regular moons - relatively close, following a prograde orbit, and with little to no orbital eccentricity.


Question 8 of 10
8. Beyond the orbit of Nereid there are five more irregular moons and all five of these moons have retrograde orbits.


Question 9 of 10
9. Which of the five outer moons, suggested to have once been part of the moon Nereid, is the largest with a diameter of 62 kilometres? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Neso, the outermost Neptunian moon, holds a rather impressive record. What is it? Hint



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Jun 21 2024 : Aph1976: 8/10
Jun 19 2024 : Guest 64: 4/10
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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Neptune was discovered by Johann Galle and Urbain Le Verrier on September 23rd, 1846. Only seventeen days later, William Lassell discovered its first (and largest) moon. What is its name?

Answer: Triton

Triton did not receive its name until Camille Flammarion proposed it in his book "Astronomie Populaire" in 1880. Even then, it was still called 'Neptune's Moon', or 'the satellite of Neptune' until Triton came into popular use in the 1930s. Triton, of course, is the son of Poseidon of Greek mythology, and Poseidon is the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Neptune.

Astronomers believe that Triton was captured into Neptune's orbit, largely due to the fact that it has a retrograde orbit, meaning that it goes around Neptune in the opposite direction of the planet's rotation.

Triton is the seventh largest moon in the solar system (sixteenth largest overall), and it has more mass than every moon that is smaller than itself, combined. With numbers, Triton is 2,700 km in diameter, and orbits at a distance of 354,759 km (from the centre of Neptune).
2. A second moon was not discovered around Neptune until over a century later. Which Dutch astronomer, whose name also adorns a belt (containing three dwarf planets) beyond Neptune, discovered Nereid in 1949?

Answer: Gerard Peter Kuiper

Gerard Kuiper discovered Nereid through photographic plates from the 82-inch telescope at the McDonald Observatory in Texas, USA on the 1st of May, 1949. Following the pattern established by the names Neptune and Triton, Kuiper suggested Nereid as the name of this new moon, after the sea-nymphs who attended Poseidon.

Nereid is an irregular moon with an eccentric orbit, but it does orbit in a prograde direction. It is the next moon out from Triton, but it orbits MUCH further out. Where Triton's semi-major axis is at 354,759 km, Nereid's varies between (approximately) 900,000 km and 6,000,000 km (the largest such variance of any observed moon).
3. Larissa, the third Neptunian moon to be discovered, was observed while four astronomers (Reitsema, Hubbard, Lebofsky and Tholen) were looking for a ring around Neptune.

Answer: True

On May 24th, 1981, Harold J. Reitsema, William B. Hubbard, Larry A. Lebofsky and David J. Tholen were watching the approach of a star towards Neptune. They were looking for the telltale sign of the presence of rings around Neptune - a slight reduction in luminosity just as the star came closest. What they ended up seeing was a short occlusion - a shadow - that could only be the presence of a moon.

That was the only indication of the presence of a third moon (Larissa) around Neptune prior to 1989 when a deep space probe flew past the planet and verified its existence.

Larissa was a nymph lover of Poseidon in Greek mythology.
4. No further Neptunian moons were discovered until the 1989 flyby of a spacecraft that was launched from Earth on August 20th, 1977. Which space probe was it?

Answer: Voyager 2

Voyager 2 was launched, as mentioned, on August 20th, 1977, and its primary mission was completed after visiting our solar system's four gas giants - Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. Its extended mission was to continue on to visit the Kuiper Belt, the edge of our Heliosphere, and beyond. At the time of my writing this quiz (February, 2015), data transmissions were still being received from Voyager 2.

When Voyager 2 visited Neptune, astronomers only knew of two Neptunian moons for sure, with a possible third. The flyby increased the number of known moons around Saturn to eight.
5. The arrival of the space probe in 1989 confirmed the existence of Larissa, as well as five other inner moons. Which of these inner moons, named for the freshwater nymphs of Greek mythology, is the innermost moon of Neptune?

Answer: Naiad

Naiad is orbiting about 23,500 km above the surface of Neptune, and is in a decaying orbit, meaning that one day, far into the future, the moon could fall into Neptune's atmosphere, or perhaps break up and form a planetary ring.

Naiad is about 58 km in diameter, and orbits Neptune every seven hours and six minutes. It was the last of the inner moons to be discovered during Voyager 2's flyby.
6. Which of Neptune's other inner moons, named for an early Greek god of 'elusive sea change', is the second largest Neptunian moon?

Answer: Proteus

Proteus is about 420 km in diameter and was discovered by Voyager 2 approximately two months before flying by Neptune. While it is the second largest moon of Neptune, Triton by itself has over 99% of all the mass in orbit around the planet.

Proteus orbits at a semi-major axis of 117,646 km, and lies between Triton and the fourteenth Neptunian moon (discovered in 2013 in Hubble telescope photos), designated S/2004 N 1.

Between Naiad and S/2004 N 1 are Thalassa, Despina, Galatea and Larissa. With the exception of S/2004 N 1, each of the inner moons gets progressively larger the further from the planet. Their diameters are (approximately): Naiad - 58 km; Thalassa - 82 km; Despina - 150 km; Galatea - 176 km; Larissa - 194 km; S/2004 N 1 - 18 km; and Proteus - 420 km.
7. All of Neptune's inner moons are regular moons - relatively close, following a prograde orbit, and with little to no orbital eccentricity.

Answer: True

Because evidence indicates that Triton was captured by Neptune (probably from the Kuiper Belt), it is believed that it likely wreaked havoc on any natural satellites that were already in orbit around the planet. All of the small inner moons between Neptune and Triton seem to have been re-accreted from the rubble disc that would have been created by that event.
8. Beyond the orbit of Nereid there are five more irregular moons and all five of these moons have retrograde orbits.

Answer: False

Triton and Nereid and all five of the other outer moons are irregular moons. Triton, as mentioned earlier, has a retrograde orbit, while Nereid has a prograde orbit. Of the remaining five, three are in a retrograde orbit, while two are prograde.

Four of these discovered by a team of astronomers led by Matthew Holman and JJ Kavelaars in 2002. They used an innovative technique to discover these outer moons, combining photos from two different telescopes (in Hawaii and Chile), and superimposing multiple frames to enhance the visibility of faint objects.

The observations were done in mid-August, but only three new moons were initially discovered at that time - eventually taking the names Halimede, Sao and Laomedeia. The fourth (Neso), was not discovered in the photographs until 2003.

The fifth moon (Psamathe), was discovered in 2003 by Scott S. Sheppard and David C. Jewitt, using the Subaru telescope at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
9. Which of the five outer moons, suggested to have once been part of the moon Nereid, is the largest with a diameter of 62 kilometres?

Answer: Halimede

Astronomers give it a 41% probability that Halimede is a fragment of Nereid, based on striking similarities in colour and surface appearance. At a diameter of only 62 kilometres, Halimede is not that big, and barely beats out Neso's 60 kilometre diameter. Even so, it is definitely bigger than Sao's 44 kilometres, Laomedeia's 42 kilometres, and Psamathe's 40 kilometres.
10. Neso, the outermost Neptunian moon, holds a rather impressive record. What is it?

Answer: It is the most distant known moon of any planet.

Neso orbits Neptune at a range of more than 49 Gm (49,000,000 km). And it has an elliptical orbit, so when it is at its apocenter, it is more than 72 Gm from Neptune! It is a small moon, only measuring approximately 60 metres in diameter, and takes more than 26 years to orbit the planet (also a record).

The neighbouring moon Psamathe has a similar orbit, although not *quite* as far out (only 48 Gm). It is believed that the two moons were the same entity at some point in history.
Source: Author reedy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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