Astronomers think it’s possible that moons can have their own mini-moon – but the scientific suggestion that they should be called ‘moonmoons’ is not going down well among those with a more poetic inclination.
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The term ‘moonmoons’ started with astrophysicist Duncan Forgan, reports ScienceAlert, who has written a paper awaiting publishing on the topic.
Instead of moonmoon, @dh4gan, I think we should just add o’s for each extra body in the system, thus:
— Space Archaeology (@spacearcheology) October 12, 2018
More recently, astronomers Juna Kollmeier and Sean Raymond wrote their own paper describing how moonmoons could actually be possible. However, they opted for a slightly less ridiculous, but equally disappointing, name of ‘submoon’.
Twitter users in particular are very displeased at the missed opportunity to name something that is not technically even a thing right now, but very well might be confirmed as a thing in the future.
There are at least 17 poets who have been waiting their whole lives for the chance to name the moon of a moon and then scientists just mess around and call it a moonmoon. This is exactly why STEM fields need more arts and humanities education. https://t.co/zB2Xnp7VFo
— Danielle Evans (@daniellevalore) October 10, 2018
Why did we miss the chance to call it a death star? Then when people mistake it for a regular moon, you would finally get the chance to say, “That’s no moon!” in regular conversation.
— FullMetal Alex (@LunaticLabs) October 12, 2018
While ‘moonmoons’ may not actually be the agreed upon term for this speculative phenomenon (we’re guessing that honor goes to the person who actually finds a real-life example), that didn’t stop the Australian House of Representatives throwing shade over the suggestion.
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To really throw a spanner in the works, another planetary astronomer, Michele Bannister of Queens University Belfast, told New Scientist that she would tend to opt for a ‘moonmoonlet’, to be precise.
“I think we can say for sure that there’s not a moonmoon that’s kilometers across around Jupiter or Saturn. A moonmoon down to the size of a skyscraper could exist out there, but I’d call it moonmoonlet,” she explained.
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