Many factors contribute to what planet is closest to the moon at any given time.
One of the biggest contributors is the elliptical orbit that both the moon and planets follow around the sun. This means that different planets will be closest to the moon at different times.
The advancement of space exploration allows us to learn more about what occurs beyond our planet. Thanks to the many crewed and crewless expeditions to space.
Moons and other satellites are anchored to their orbit by the planet’s gravitational field strength. For a moon to stay in orbit, it would have to be reasonably close to a planet. Because of this, out of curiosity, you may ask yourself,
What planet is closest to the moon right now?
There are only a few planets close to the moon right now. Mercury, Venus, Earth. And they are the only planets that can be seen with the naked eye. Out of these four planets, Earth is the closest to the moon.
Satellite Types And Classifications
There are billions of satellites in our galaxy, let alone the universe. These satellites come in all shapes and sizes.
Not all celestial bodies have satellites; however, most heavy objects in space do. Here are the different types of satellites:
1. Temporary Satellites
Some objects may be floating in the vast expanse of space, uncoupled to an orbit, or knocked off their orbit for different reasons.
These bodies may stray into the gravitational path of another object and move into the outer fringes of the object’s gravitational field.
The objects will then acquire a new temporary orbit before moving out of the gravitational pull region.
Our planet has had one search satellite, the 2006RH120. The asteroid orbited the Earth briefly for about nine months before uncoupling and moving out of orbit.
Temporary satellites are some of the most common types of satellites.
2. Satellites of Satellites
These are usually unstable orbital systems where a satellite orbiting a body acquires another satellite due to its massive gravitational pull.
The satellites may be moons acquiring their moons or getting asteroids to orbit them. In our solar system, Rhea has its sub-moons. Rhea is one of Saturn’s moons with celestial bodies orbiting it.
These types of satellites are fairly rare and do not last long. The tidal interference of the parent body knocks such sub-satellites out of orbit. The host satellites also lack enough gravitational field strength to keep these bodies in orbit.
3. Trojan Satellites
They are two satellites whose orbits are interchangeable, and the bodies have companions at L4 and L5 Lagrangian points.
These satellites usually orbit enormous objects such as large planets.
The two bodies can trace at a 120-degree angle from the planet’s core. They move in the same orbit.
Asteroids are large celestial bodies that orbit the sun. These bodies are not large enough to be dwarf planets and do not orbit planets, so they can’t get classified as moons.
Asteroids are usually irregularly shaped. Unlike comets, they do not have tails and don’t glow. Most asteroids are in the inner solar system.
There are about 2 million asteroids in the asteroid belt. It is a region of space between Mars and Jupiter littered with millions of these rocky bodies, constantly colliding and moving in orbit.
Some asteroids are thought to be remnants of the materials that formed planets. They became detached before the super-cooling phase.
5. Artificial Satellites
These are artificial satellites orbiting our planet. These satellites serve many functions. Most artificial satellites in space collect data for research that enables us to understand our planet better.
The International Space Station is the largest artificial satellite in space. The modular station is one of the greatest feats of engineering.
The satellite was constructed by five space agencies: JAXA, RASCOMOS, CSA, NASA, and ESA.
The modular station entered orbit in 1998. The space station has had 253 scientists who work in different specialized fields.
These scientists mostly study astronomy, astrobiology, and meteorology. They stay in space for months at a time.
Moon Phenomena You Didn’t Know Existed
There are many different and unique moon phenomena. We can observe many of them from Earth on days when we have clear skies. Some of the moon phenomena are:
A blue moon is a spectacular phenomenon where the moon appears to have a blue halo tinge around it. A blue moon occurs between a solstice and an equinox.
The moon’s color never changes, but the visual distortion occurs because of the Earth’s atmosphere. The color occurs due to a layer of dust and smoke particles in the inner atmosphere.
The particles cause an almost translucent effect, where you can see the moon through a blue layer.
The moonlight shines through the layer and causes a distorted light effect. The effect is quite aesthetically pleasing and indicates actual pollutants in the air.
The blood moon or red moon occurs when the moon appears to have a reddish hallow tinge around it. Red moons occur during a total lunar eclipse.
Unlike the blue moon, the red moon isn’t caused by visual distortions in the Earth’s atmosphere. During a total lunar eclipse, light from the sun is completely obscured from reaching the moon as it lies in the umbra region.
Since the light shines on the Earth’s surface, some light from the Earth reflects off and makes the moon visible. The light from the Earth gives the moon a red or orange-like tinge.
Waxing is a more common phenomenon that occurs when the moon appears to be growing in volume. The moon appears to be getting larger from the first quarter till the full moon.
A moon appears to be waxing as a larger section of its surface reflects light off the sun. The waxing moon is a standard part of the normal lunar cycle.
A waning is the opposite of a waxing moon. The moon appears to be gradually decreasing in volume. The shrinking occurs from the moon’s third quarter till the new moon, when it is no longer visible from Earth.
The warning occurs when less on the moon’s surface reflects light from the sun traveling along its orbit. The waxing moon is a standard part of the cycle as the waning moon.
Titan- An Earth-like Moon
Titan is one of the unique satellites in our solar system. The moon has piqued the interest of scientists since it was first observed in 1655.
Titan is the second-largest in the solar system and one of Saturn’s moons. What sets it apart from other celestial bodies is that the moon has an authentic atmosphere and clouds.
The moon shares several Earth-like characteristics. The Voyager’s Cassini mission in 2004 was pivotal to discovering the moon’s properties.
The space probe discovered that the moon’s atmosphere extends 600kms below its orange haze.
The moon’s gravity is fairly weak, explaining why the atmosphere extends above the surface. It, however, has 45% more atmospheric pressure than Earth.
Titan has methane lakes and vast landscapes. It is the second celestial body aside from the Earth with stable liquid bodies on its surface.
The moon has a complete hydrologic cycle with rain and similar weather patterns to Earth.
Methane naturally occurs as a liquid on the moon. It creates methane clouds on evaporation and falls back down on the surface as methane rain.
The planet’s dry scape has hydro-carbon sand structures, similar to Earth’s deserts, except Earth’s deserts are filled with silicon (IV) oxide.
Titan might have liquid ammonia and methane ocean. It lies within Saturn’s magnetosphere and gets shielded from radioactive solar winds. Titan, however, lacks a magnetic field.
Titan is tidally locked to Saturn and therefore doesn’t exhibit axial rotation.
The moon receives very little sunlight compared to Earth due to the body’s distance. Titan experiences extraterrestrial seasons and occasional cold periods.
A methane and ammonia ice cap periodically forms on the south pole during the winter months.
Conditions on Saturn may eventually support some extraterrestrial life in the distant future. It is dependent on climate stabilization and our sun becoming a red giant. It will allow enough light and heat to reach the moon and create a less-volatile climate.
There are many planets in our solar system, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. In this post, we’ve answered the question, what planet is closest to the moon right now?
We have also given you a few fun facts about the moon! We hope this article was of some help.