Does Our Moon Have a Name?

Yes.  Technically our moon’s name is ‘Moon’

It just so happens that the word moon serves a duel purpose.

This photo was taken July 18, 2019

The dictionary will tell you that a moon is the natural satellite of the Earth, and it will also tell you it’s a natural satellite of any planet, and in this context, a satellite is a celestial body orbiting the Earth or another planet.

So yes, our Moon is a natural satellite that orbits the Earth and the fifth-largest of the 190+ moons orbiting planets in our solar system.

And yet the natural satellites orbiting other planets have some magnificent names: Europa, Io, Triton, Titan, Phobos, and Oberon, just to name a few.

Ours is simply called the Moon.

Why?

According to NASA:

Earth’s only natural satellite is simply called “the Moon” because people didn’t know other moons existed until Galileo Galilei discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610.

(And I also found – somewhere that:)

After other moons were discovered, they were given different names so that people would not confuse them with each other. We call them moons because they orbit planets the same way that the moon orbits around Earth.

So, from this, I deduce, and I certainly don’t think I’m the only person to so, that our Moon governs the language we use when we talk about all those other moons.

I think that’s a wonderful way to honour our Moon, our big, beautiful, natural satellite and the first to be named thus.

o o

Moon comes from the Old English word mona.  But we do have other words we use for the Moon:

  • Luna is the Latin word for Moon, and one of the names of Artemis the moon goddess.
  • Greeks called the Moon Selene, another goddess of the moon, who fell in love with Endymion.

I’m sure there are many other words among the copious languages we speak, but Luna and Selene were goddesses.

Enough said.

o o

This is my next entry in my Blue Moon Squares as part of Becky’s ‘Blue’ Square in July photo challenge.


Both Luna and Selene have made a lasting impression on how we talk about moons with all the lunar references we have as well as selenology being the scientific study of the Moon – not to mention being a Selenophile.

6 Replies to “Does Our Moon Have a Name?”

  1. Mum this was so interesting, thank you! I had no idea. You should do more series posts like this, I am learning so much about the moon! Love you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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