“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”
“Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite’em” begins the nursery rhyme. “Little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.” Does this sort of approach extend to objects in the Solar System? Does the Earth only have the Moon?
“How many moons does the Earth have?” asked TV presenter Stephen Fry on the BBC comedy panel show QI. The obvious answer “One” caused the klaxon to sound. The correct answer, it seems, was “two”. But then he asked the same question again a couple of years later when the correct answer had changed to “three”. But when he asked a third time, the answer was supposed to be “zero”.
The asteroid Cruithne is often considered to be Earth’s second moon, but it is not orbiting the Earth – it is merely influenced by the Earth’s gravitational pull. But one researcher was thrown by his four-year-old son who once asked “do moons have moons”?
Throughout the Solar System, no such system has been found. Yet we know, for example, that the dwarf planet Pluto has at least five moons. Yet Pluto is smaller than the Moon – that is, our Moon, the one that orbits the Earth. Why could the Moon not have its own Moon?
The child-like simplicity of such a question and yet the absence of a good answer for it underlines how much we have yet to discover. God has made a wonderful universe, and it is exciting that He has given talents to people to investigate it.
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