8. Pan – Moon that creates Rings
Pan is a tiny moon that orbits Saturn, and it was first discovered in 1990, when the team of the Voyager 2 space probe mission took pictures of the inner rings of Saturn. The images contain a tiny glimpse of Pan within the Encke Gap, which has a width of around 325 km. Pan boosts a 14 km in diameter with a shape that resembles a saucer rather than a sphere.
Scientists reveal that this saucer shape has a profound impact on the system of rings as it develops kinks, which have been termed as wakes. As soon as the rapidly traveling particles make their way past Pan, it creates a gravitational push that causes them to accumulate and form waves, which tend to travel up to many miles to rings.
9. Nereid – The Traveling Moon
Nereid orbits Neptune in the most peculiar and insane orbit order as compared to any other moon across the solar system. It 360 earth-like days to complete its orbits, and being the outermost moon of Neptune, Nereid has revealed a fascinating ability to increase and decrease its distance with Neptune. It has discovered to be as close as a distance of 841,100 km, and as far as 5,980,200 km by carving out a sharply elongated elliptical orbit.
This peculiar orbit has caused scientists to deduce that Nereid has actually been captured from the Kuiper belt, which is an area farther from Neptune that is filled with icy objects, an abundance of comet-like bodies, and larger objects that exceed a 100 km in diameter, along with Pluto of course.
10. Callisto – The Most Cratered Moon
Galileo was the first one to discover the presence of Callisto, and three other moons that were orbiting other planets aside from Earth, and this discovery was made back in 1610. Callisto boosted our understanding of the dynamics of the solar system, and explained that earth is not the center of the universe, but rather it revolves the sun, which is the center.
Callisto is the outermost moon that orbits Jupiter, and it has undergone consistent asteroid collisions, that has left it heavily damaged. Scientists regard it as the most cratered celestial object in the entire solar system. It hosts very sparse geological activity, which is why Callisto has failed to revive and rebuild its surface. Callisto also features the oldest surface in the solar system, and craters that were formed at least 4 billion years ago are still visible and intact.
11. Phobos – En Route for a Disaster
Phobos is the bigger one amongst the two moons that orbit Mars, and it features a mismatched shape that doesn’t look spherical, sprawling over an expanse of 10,692 km. It completes an orbit that is strikingly close to Mars, and it is capable of finishing three orbits in just a day.
The Stickney crater is by far the most prominent characteristic of Phobos, sprawling over 9.7 km, it was formed after a massive collision that almost blew up this moon. Phobos has been subjected to a consistent flow of meteor bombing that has shrouded the entire surface with thick clouds of dust.
Phobos may seem like the least fascinating celestial being in the sky, looming near Mars, but its hazardous future and likely possibility of eventual disappearance may make it seem like the most riveting tales of the solar system.
Reports reveal that Phobos is gradually shifting nearer to the fiery Mars, and the speed observed is 1.8 m in one century, and in 50 million years, the two are destined to end up in a collision. This impact will break up the moon entirely, while Mars will be surrounded with a thick layer of dust-filled ring.