The latest episode of The Astroholic LIVE was able to accidentally capture (or presciently if you want to give me more credit) the zeitgeist of this week’s discussion about moons. We talked about the possible names for a ‘moon orbiting another moon’ and a new paper has now come out and discussed just that.
The study showed that it is unlikely but possible that moons can have objects orbiting them and not their main planet, as long as they are far enough away from the planet and the moon’s moon sits in a certain sweet spot. Four moons in the solar system can have such a configuration. Our Moon, Jupiter’s Callisto, and Saturn’s Titan and Iapetus.
So I made a post on twitter and made a poll with different options.
What do you think is the best name for a moon orbiting a moon and not a planet?
— 🎃 It’s the Doctor not the monster! (@DrCarpineti) October 11, 2018
I lost the battle. But maybe not the war.
Two main “criticisms” (as it’s all in jest) was that moonmoon is both descriptive and fun. Maybe it’s because English is not my first language, but it doesn’t sound that descriptive to me. It is also very Anglo-centric, and while English is the lingua franca of science, such a term will be used beyond academic papers.
The other issue is that it’s fun. It was described as having a “Boaty McBoatface” quality. And yes, it is fun and silly, but if that’s the requirement we can go for funnier and sillier! Many people proposed their own version of the what a moon’s moon should be called.
Here’s the current list thanks to my wonderful twitter followers.
Submoon (used in the paper)
√ Moon (pronounced Squoon)
Moon to the moonth degree or Moon^Moon
2 Sat 2 Lites
Lunetta: Titan Drift
Moona Mia: Here We Go Again
Moons all the way down
Which do you prefer? Do you have another suggestion?