Talk:List of natural satellites

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Featured list List of natural satellites is a featured list, which means it has been identified as one of the best lists produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Sorting broken[edit]

Sorting by diameter sorts alphabetically instead of numerically ( 95 > 1,200 ). Tested in Safari 4.0. --IanOsgood (talk) 04:45, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It always works when sorting from biggest to smallest, but fouls up when sorting from smallest to biggest. It works fine now though. Don't ask me why. Serendipodous 07:55, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah, the problem is that numeric sorting is context sensitive on the contents of the first cell of the table at the time the sort is applied. If there are non-numeric characters in that first column, such as "±" or "—" to express inaccuracy, then the sort is alphabetic. This is why it sometimes sorts correctly and sometimes not. See Help:Sorting. (This is a wikimedia misfeature in my opinion; the data type should be specified in the column header.) --IanOsgood (talk) 18:22, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Still seems to be broken, seems to sort now on the first digit for me. ie, 9 > 10000. Shame that "List of Planets by diameter" redirects here when that list is basically nonexistent. NevarMaor (talk) 04:25, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, the sorting seems permanently broken by the change in format. Don't really know how to fix it except to manually number them, but that would require redoing the entire list every time a new moon was discovered. Serendipodous 10:49, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
The diameter part is easy to fix, if a bit of a pain. Can't remember how, though. 'll have to look it up. — kwami (talk) 12:29, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Here we go: Wikipedia:Sortable_table#Forcing_proper_sort_type_and_positioning_rows_with_a_hidden_sort_keykwami (talk) 12:36, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
It should sort properly now. It doesn't. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Asked on the help page. — kwami (talk) 13:26, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I also had a quick look at this. All the radius entries are done using the sort template and they seem to be entered correctly. They're entered in scientific notation ("80" is entered as "8.0e1") but I tried changing about half the entries and nothing seemed to change. Seems like a major issue, because I imagine users are quite often looking to arrange moons by size... Warrickball (talk) 15:48, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Dwarf planets[edit]

Barring a strong consensus against doing so, I've restored the dwarf planet moons to this list. While the size of the list was expressed as a concern, the fact is that there are so few DP moons that it really doesn't make a significant difference to the overall size if they are gone. Furthermore, their absence (and merging in with "minor planets") marginalizes the DPs in a manner contrary to what the IAU has done (in that DPs are described separately from SSSbs now) and does not benefit people looking for information on Pluto, Eris and so on. --Ckatzchatspy 17:05, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

My principal desire in doing this (and I did not really want to do it) was keeping this list sortable. It still breaks down even now, but it seems to be functioning relatively well without the dwarf planet moons. I've been trying to figure out a way to bring them back without causing the list to implode, but I can't. Sooner or later, Orcus, Quaoar and god knows how many new mooned dwarf planets will be added to the roster, and if this list has DPs on it when they are, it will die. The only other long term option is to break the list back into the five lists it was originally and remove the sortability. But that was one of the criteria demanded for this list to reach FL status. Serendipodous 17:08, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Please note, Ckatz, that the list no longer sorts properly. The radii are listed as 1 to 10 then 2 to to 20. I didn't do this on a whim. Serendipodous 17:21, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Hello, S. No knock against your efforts (without which we'd be sorely lacking a lot of good quality material in the Astronomy pages. It's just that removing the DPs here is the opposite of how we've treated them elsewhere in terms of mentioning them in concert with planets as opposed to SSSBs. I'll see if I can figure out the sortability issue; there's no reason that this content should break it as opposed to any other content (such as all of Saturn's moons). --Ckatzchatspy 17:23, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, what is the sortability issue? I've just sorted by radius and it appears to increase correctly. --Ckatzchatspy 17:27, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Try it again. Sometimes it sorts correctly, sometimes it lists all the 1s (1-1000) then all the 2s (2-2000) then all the 3s etc. Hm. Actually, looking back, it seems to do that anyway whether the DPs are listed or not. Thought I'd fixed it. Serendipodous 17:29, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, saw it, however, that appears to be either a flaw in the sorting code, rather than in the content. As such, it isn't a reason to remove the data from the list. (The sort feature doesn't appear to be entirely reliable, not just here but in applications across the project.) --Ckatzchatspy 17:36, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Well I'm certainly happy to have them back in, even if it means I'm back to square one as far as sorting is concerned. :=| Serendipodous 17:48, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
The solution is to use {{sort}} template like Moons of Saturn. Ruslik_Zero 19:21, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I strongly support retaining the dwarf planet moons in the list.RandomCritic (talk) 02:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)


The colours of Uranus and Neptune in the table are too similar, making it confusing. I don't know how to fix it, but I wanted to make the point. (talk) 13:38, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

They are not similar. You probably have a color blindness. — Chesnok (talkcontribs) 18:24, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Mass of satellites[edit]

I'm wondering why there is no column in the table for the mass of the various satellites? Is it because that is not known?

Thanks — SteveRwanda (talk) 17:55, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

It's known for the larger ones but not for the smallest ones. Serendipodous 18:02, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

I echo the request for masses. From Dione: “Dione is the 15th largest moon in the Solar System, and is more massive than all known moons smaller than itself combined.” And there’s sim:ilar comment in note g of Triton. Which suggests an obvious question: which moons are more massive than all smaller moons? So a (sortable!) table of masses would be welcome, perhaps with ±error bounds. JDAWiseman (talk) 17:41, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

You must remember that the smallest satellites on this list are barely larger than your typical condo. Any mess estimates would be essentially guesses. Serendipodous 18:23, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

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A bit confused here[edit]

It says that Saturn has 62 moons (with confirmed orbits). 22 of them are regular, and "the remaining thirty-eight" are irregular. That adds up to 60--what about the other two?

Similarly, Uranus is said to have 13 inner moons and nine irregular outer moons. Since the total amount of named moons is 27, that means we're missing five. Would they be outer moons with regular orbits? Ron Stoppable (talk) 17:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

22 was an outdated figure for 24. Fixed now.
Yes, the missing five Uranian moons are the main group ones that are massive enough to have attained hydrostatic equilibrium. I changed it so that the 13 and 9 are referred to as "another 13...another 9", to make it clear that the 5 big moons are neither inner moons nor irregular outer moons. Double sharp (talk) 07:40, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

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Hat note[edit]

The hat note read(s),

This article is about the moons of planets and dwarf planets.

Problem is, it is not about the moons of the hundreds or thousands of dwarf planets, only of the five to be recognized by the IAU. There are additional moons of dwarf planets, including ones recognized by Brown, Tancredi, etc, and the IAU recognizes that there are many more dwarf planets than just the five it has individually recognized. Ckatz provided a NASA source on another talk page which spoke of "the first five recognized dwarf planets". That is accurate, and I suggest that we follow NASA here. Any reason not to? — kwami (talk) 02:30, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Very simply, because this is yet another example of you trying to push your agenda on as many pages as you feel you can get away with. You have repeatedly been told to stop, not just by me but by a host of regular editors of the astronomy pages. --Ckatzchatspy 03:06, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Ckatz, do you have any objection of substance? Not that you don't like me, but an objection to the wording? Talk pages are for discussing the article. — kwami (talk) 18:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
What the h___ is going on here? RandomCritic (talk) 13:45, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
It's a question of whether we follow a single authority (the IAU), or reflect the breadth of our sources (NASA, Brown, Tancredi, etc.). Ckatz is of the view that if the IAU does not say something, then we should not report it, even if other sources do say it. Or at least I think that's his objection. He seldom says.
Basically, there are hundreds or thousands of dwarf planets. This article does not list the moons of all of them. It only lists the moons of the dwarf planets which have so far been recognized by the IAU. It does not include moons of dwarf planets recognized by Brown, Tancredi, and others. I agree that we need to limit it so that it does not become unwieldy. But we should not imply that we list all of them. — kwami (talk) 18:58, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
The International Astronomical Union invented the designation "dwarf planet" in 2006. Prior to that time it did not exist, and it has no meaning other than whatever meaning the IAU is pleased to confer upon it. When Wikipedia uses the term "dwarf planet", it means whatever the IAU means by "dwarf planet", regardless of what any other person may use the term to mean. The statement that there are "hundreds or thousands of dwarf planets" is not accurate; there may be hundreds of candidate objects, some of which might some day be accepted as dwarf planets, and there may be thousands of objects yet to be discovered which might be candidates for being labelled dwarf planets, but at this moment, there are only five objects which actually are dwarf planets. Because "dwarf planet" is an arbitrary label, we cannot reasonably say that, say, Sedna or Quaoar are dwarf planets; they would only become dwarf planets at such future date as they may be named as such, which depends upon obtaining accurate data as to their size, mass, composition, and shape, which is not as yet available. To say definitively that there are dwarf planets other than the five that have been named goes far beyond what Wikipedia is entitled to do. At most the project can say that certain objects, at some future date, might be designated as dwarf planets.RandomCritic (talk) 20:35, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
So the IAU "definition" of the term really defines only a class of objects which are invited to apply for dwarf planet status? —Tamfang (talk) 22:34, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
The IAU definition provides a general characterization of objects that would count as dwarf planets if we had sufficient data to know whether they fit the criteria. Since most of the objects involved are so far away, or so small, that their exact size and shape is still a matter of uncertainty, we have no way of telling for certain whether they are or are not dwarf planets according to the IAU definition, without extensive and time-consuming study. Until the IAU accepts, according to its own criteria, an object as a dwarf planet, Wikipedia has no reason to characterize any object as a dwarf planet independently of the IAU. RandomCritic (talk) 22:43, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
RC has said this before, over and over, but has never provided any evidence for it. It contradicts the IAU's definition, which is based solely on physical and dynamical attributes. — kwami (talk) 00:54, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
If, in the above statement, "RC" is supposed to refer to me, I can only reply that the statement is a known falsehood. I haven't been involved in discussions about dwarf planets for years and certainly have never said "this" "over and over". Perhaps the user above has me confused with someone else, though I very much doubt it. Of course I have said nothing at odds with the IAU's own statements. The IAU has made it quite clear in its own statements that it accepts only five objects as dwarf planets "Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea" -- though it leaves the door open to accept others in the future. There ought to be no controversy about that fact. RandomCritic (talk) 22:43, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps I did. Someone did make this argument before, over and over, without anyone else accepting it, and I could have sworn it was you. My apologies if I am wrong.
No-one disputes that the IAU has only recognized 5 objects as DPs. But that's a far cry from saying they "become" DPs when the IAU accepts them. A primate is still a primate even if it has no taxonomic name. Its ancestors were primates before there were humans to name them. An element is an element (assuming it exists somewhere) even before it is synthesized and named. The IAU definition is independent of whether the IAU evaluates the object. As NASA put it, these are the first five "recognized" dwarf planets. — kwami (talk) 03:17, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, you say something else in your answer to Tamfang: "we have no way of telling for certain whether they are or are not dwarf planets according to the IAU definition". Yes, that I agree with, for most objects: they either are or are not DPs, and we don't know which. Except for a few cases where we do: We have RSs that a few of the larger objects are DPs. Since the IAU is not addressing the issue, we're left to evaluate the RSs which do address it. For most, of course, RSs only say "may be, probably, possibly," etc. — kwami (talk) 03:22, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
RandomCritic, I can't recall if you were privy to what Kwami was doing at the dwarf planet article, but in a nutshell he's called for (and rejected the outcome of) two RfCs there plus a third at a related template. He's also been reworking related articles and POV-tagging those where his edits are rejected. --Ckatzchatspy 19:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I was not aware of that. This kind of unethical editing behavior is a matter of great concern, particularly when the person in question is a Wikipedia administrator. It raises questions of abuse of admin status on behalf of a personal agenda.RandomCritic (talk) 20:40, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh please. Where have I used my admin status for anything here. — kwami (talk) 00:54, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

False claims, no sources. This is a featured list???[edit]

"Triton is large enough to have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium, but, uniquely for a large moon, is irregular, suggesting it was captured."

There is no official source to support the claim that Triton has not achieved hydrostatic equilibrium. A search in respected scientific sites turned no official scientific articles supporting this claim/statement. The whole paragraph is false actually, even if Triton was irregular this has nothing to do with whether its a captured body or not. Its retrograde orbit is the reason for the captured body theory. I m very dissapointed reading such inaccurate articles on Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:41, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Please see the definition of irregular satellite, a term this list defines exhaustively in its opening paragraphs. Serendipodous 07:55, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Hm — Irregular satellite#Definition: There is no widely accepted precise definition of an irregular satellite.Tamfang (talk) 17:29, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to change this to retrograde; while irregular is correct, it has no precise definition and has two different meanings. Double sharp (talk) 04:21, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Double sharp (talk) 04:22, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
The paragraph refers(referred) to the shape of Triton, then without any clarity uses the term "irregular" which is also used to characterize shape. The way "but" was used in the sentence is what caused the misinterpretation because it implied it continued on the subject of shape. My English may not be exceptional but I think I understand the language quite well. (A real statement and an example of the use of "but" in a sentence). Many thanks to all for your time and your replies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

If Triton is an irregular moon, though, why is it listed in the table as a "Main group moon (retrograde)"? Double sharp (talk) 13:47, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

I changed it to "Retrograde irregular". Double sharp (talk) 07:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Angular diameter of primary viewed from satellite[edit]

This would be good to add as a column. --JWB (talk) 20:12, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Celestia can generate this info, but I don't know if it counts as an RS. The angular diameter would also have to be expressed as a range, so getting the info using Celestia would also be quite tedious in any case. Double sharp (talk) 12:57, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

keep those orbits safe[edit]

Jupiter has 67 known moons with secured orbits.

‘Secured’ is an odd word, not defined or used elsewhere in the article. —Tamfang (talk) 04:06, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

I think this could be a remnant of the time when S/2000 J 11 was lost. Double sharp (talk) 01:34, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Following the way the article describes the orbits of the Saturnian moons, I changed "secured" to "confirmed". Double sharp (talk) 13:37, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Largest seven moons[edit]

Why are they in bold and italic? Why the largest seven? (I may be missing something.) Double sharp (talk) 15:48, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Because they're larger than the dwarf planets. Serendipodous 15:59, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
OK. Shouldn't we mention that, then? (Added.) Double sharp (talk) 16:08, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Images column[edit]

The images column is wider than any of the images (and hence than it needs to be) and attempts of mine to fix this have failed. Does anyone know how to do this? --JorisvS (talk) 11:52, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Retrograde as (r)[edit]

It looks a bit weird to denote a retrograde orbit by tagging the orbital period with "(r)". We could change these to "−...", but this breaks the sort and even if it wouldn't, mixed negative and positive numbers in a sorted column could be confusing. What about adding an inclination column? There are rather few figures in the list as it stands. Or does anyone have a better idea? --JorisvS (talk) 11:52, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

We could add inclination, mass, and eccentricity. Double sharp (talk) 14:29, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Those make a lost of sense. It is actually ridiculous that mass is missing, really. I also suggest density to be added alongside mass. --JorisvS (talk) 14:40, 7 December 2014 (UTC)