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Explore Alliance Presents: How Do You KNOW? – Episode #15: 'Identifying and Classifying Moons'

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In August of 2006 the International Astronomical Union famously downgraded Pluto, which was considered the 9th planet in our solar system, to be recategorized with a family of "dwarf planets" along with Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake as well as other objects in the distant Kuiper Belt of our solar system.  

The term moon has likewise changed over the millennia. Every culture had a name for our companion in the night sky; how could they not? It would be interesting to compile a list of all the names for the Moon, but we must acknowledge that any such list would be incomplete. There are hundreds of vanished cultures, many of whom never had a written language, whose name for the Moon we will never know!

Dr. Barth helps us understand the cultural and scientific reasons for classifications of these orbiting bodies on this episode of  'How Do You KNOW?'