Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Ask an Astrophysicist  |  
Ask an Astrophysicist

The Question

(Submitted February 18, 1998)

The Earth's moon orbits the earth with one side always facing the Earth. Do other moons orbit their respective planets in the same manner?

The Answer

Most of the satellites in the solar system rotate synchronously like our moon (see http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/luna.html). An example of one that doesn't is Saturn's moon Hyperion. Its rotation is actually chaotic. You can find out more about it at http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/hyperion.html

Also, http://www.solarviews.com/eng/data1.htm#orb

, which is a table of orbital and rotation periods, among other things.

Damian Audley and John Cannizzo
for Ask an Astrophysicist

Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html for help on other astronomy Q&A services.

Previous question
Prev
Main topic
Main
Next question
Next

If words seem to be missing from the articles, please read this.

Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Friday, 27-Feb-2009 08:11:08 EST