Q:

Why is the moon called a natural satellite?

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Quick Answer

A moon is considered a natural satellite because it orbits around a planet. A natural satellites is any celestial object that orbits around another larger object.

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Full Answer

Mercury and Venus are the only planets in the solar system that do not have natural satellites. The Earth's only natural satellite is the Moon. The Moon orbits around the Earth once every 27.3 days, which is the sidereal period, but because the Earth is moving around the Sun, the synodic period is about 29.5 days. The moon is held in orbit by gravity. Objects such as planets, asteroids, and comets orbit around stars and are also considered natural satellites.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does the moon have different phases?

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    Earth's only natural satellite has different phases due to its revolution around the planet. This causes the light from the sun to strike the moon at different angles, and this sunlit appearance is the one perceived by any observer on Earth.

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  • Q:

    What is the purpose of the moon?

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    The gravitational pull of the moon controls the rise and fall of tides on Earth and slows the planet's rotation, while the phases of the moon serve as calendar markers for human beings. High tides occur on the portion of the Earth closest to the moon and the portion farthest away. Low tides occur between those two points.

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  • Q:

    Why is the moon not a planet?

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    The moon is not a planet because, by definition, a planet is a "spherical ball of rock or gas that orbits a star," according to About.com. While the moon is a spherical ball of rock, it orbits the Earth and not the sun.

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  • Q:

    What are moons?

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    A moon is a natural satellite consisting of solid material that naturally orbits a planet or dwarf planet. Although the Earth has just one moon, there are other planets that have more, and some that even have none. Moons and their planets often have very symbiotic, or close relationships.

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