Monday, December 17, 2007

Have You Been Mooned?

In one of my spaced out modes, I was thinking about the moons of Jupiter and trying to recall the name of any of them. While Jupiter has 63 moons, there are 4 major orbs with names that might be mentioned in a grade school science class: Io, Europa, Calisto, and Ganymede. Similarly Mars has 2: Phobos and Deimos; Saturn has 31, the largest being Pan, Atlas, and Prometheus; Uranus has 27, the largest: Cordellia and Ophelia; and Neptune has 13, the 4 largest being Naiad, Thalassa, Despina, and Galate.

This brings us to Earth. We have one moon. But for all the science and astronomy classes I’ve taken in school, I couldn’t come up with the name of our moon. Do you know what it is? After much searching on the internet, I found the name “Luna”, but then all further reference to it was “The Moon”! Does that mean instead of mooning someone, we should (or shouldn’t) be lunaing them?