Astronomers Wonder: Can Moons Have Moons?

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Inquisitive kids ask some questions that parents just can’t answer. Astronomer Juna Kollmeier’s son gave her a real stumper one night back in 2014:

“Can moons have moons?”

So she went hunting for an answer.

As far as scientists can tell, none of the Solar System’s planets have submoons, moons orbiting their moons. Kollmeier from the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and astronomer Sean Raymond from the University of Bordeaux teamed up to find that the answer is, well, complicated. But in the wake of an enormous exomoon possibly spotted around another star, the question is as prescient as ever—and might reveal important information about the history of our own Solar System.

“We’re really just scratching the surface


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