I am trying to find out of there is a term that can be used when referring to both a planet and any accompanying moons (if present) as a whole collection. For example if you were to refer to Mars and its moons as a whole, is there a term for that?

EDIT to clarify: I am trying to find a generic term if one exists.

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    $\begingroup$ I usually see the word "system" used. $\endgroup$
    – duzzy
    Aug 31, 2015 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ How? Like Mars system? Generically I would think that would be "Planetary System" but that already has a very different meaning. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ I should have been more clear in my original question (I will edit it), but I am trying to determine a generic term if one exists. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, Mars system, or better, Martian system. Mars might not be a good example, it only has two fairly small moons, so it would be perhaps easier to consider Jupiter (Jovian system) or Saturn (Saturnian/Cronian system). Alternative to "Mars", technically, you could also use an adjective for "Ares" (Arean). $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Aug 31, 2015 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave if/when there will be Martians on Mars, the Martian system will be a kind of government, or an HMO or an exercise machine for home use or even a way to buy and sell property to make a profit advertised on late night TV. But until then, the Martian system gas got my vote. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Sep 30, 2016 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


The common word, as was mentioned in the comments, is the use of the word System. I have seen this in reference to the Jovian, Saturnian, and Plutonian systems, referring to the planet and collection of moons. If one is referring to just the moons, without the planet, usually the word Satellite is injected (Saturnian Satellite System).

It seems this isn't commonly used with Mars, likely as a result of it only having two moons.

Generically, it's called a System. There doesn't seem to be a good word for the system for just the moons. Planetary System refers to the system of planets surrounding a star. I would call it Planetary Satellite System, or something like that, generically.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, with Mars there isn't much of a system, because Mars' gravity is so dominant over the tiny moons. There are adjectives for each of the planets though. The ones I learned are in order: Hermean, Venerian, Terran, Arean (or Marsian if you're not afraid of sounding dumb ;), Jovian, Saturnian, Uranian, Neptunian. That said, it doesn't make much sense to talk about a Hermean or Venerian system either. Wikipedia lists a bit more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… For some reason it's always Earth-Moon system instead of Terran. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ I really need a generic term though for a planet and moons without referring to a specific planet and moons :( I guess I am going to have to make something up. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2015 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ It seems from a cursory google search that the accepted term is "planet-satellite system". Google Ngrams seems to confirm this. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Aug 31, 2015 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ I like it:-) Edited it in, that sounds much better than I've seen. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Aug 31, 2015 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Something of a Venerian system may be said to exist if you count Venus's temporary trojan. Trojan type asteroids are now known in most planetary orbits of the Solar System, including Earth. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2019 at 0:44

I've heard several terms for various planetary systems. The one account that each of them agrees on is that Jupiter's planetary system is called the "Jovian System". I have heard the Saturn planetary system referred to as the "Cronian System", the Uranus planetary system referred to as the "Urianian System", and Neptune is "Neptunian". I have also heard, on some occasions, Mars and its moons referred to as the "Martian System". For planets like Venus and Mercury, I don't think there are any, but usually objects from Venus are called "Venusian" or more rarely "Venerian" after the Russian word for Venus; Venera.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a pretty good answer, but it looks like @jwvanderbeck is looking specifically for a generic term that can be applied to any planetary system. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Sep 30, 2016 at 4:02

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