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I went out on a brainstorming limb for a solution to this question: Can a moon orbit a planet's southern pole? I ask those of you with more astronomy and physics knowledge to critique it. I don’t want to lead the OP astray, but I figured if I could see a path to building their world dream, it was worth trying.

I’m going to turn the answer into a community answer in case anyone wants to edit to add or correct.

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I think it's a good answer with the potential to help the OP. It seems to be well-reasoned, and although implausible, the scenario you provide still fits the given circumstances.

I get that downvotes are discouraging, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad answer. The answer's mixed reception probably came from the fact that a lopsided body is by definition not a planet - making the post appear not to be an answer. I disagree with this perspective. Such a technicality won't prevent the OP from achieving the desired effect. Plus, the question isn't tagged with "science-based" (though it's arguably implied by the "orbital-mechanics" tag) so any relatively logical answer, imo, is valid.

In the future, it could be helpful to acknowledge such a technicality in the body of the question when it comes up so it becomes a deliberate concession / rebuttal, rather than an apparent hole in your reasoning.

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  • $\begingroup$ There weren’t any downvotes when I asked for this review. :-) I asked for the review to encourage downvotes if I had the physics that wrong. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Feb 9 '20 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM well your physics are right :) $\endgroup$ Feb 10 '20 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ Physics schmysics. I agree, this was a good answer. It struck the right creative note that allows for the possibility of a wonderful & delightful fictional world. I think far too many responses & comments in this forum boil down to "not scientifically possible, therefore it's a bad query or bad response". That's fine if an OP asks a hard-science question. When the question is open, I like to see the wild, impossible, creative and fantastically wonderful answers. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Feb 12 '20 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @SRM Downvotes won't necessarily reflect if you got the physics wrong. Often it's because the downvoters don't like your post for whatever reason strikes their fancy. You can only guarantee it if someone comments "I downvoted your because the physics is wrong!". Otherwise it's guesswork why you were downvoted. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Feb 13 '20 at 23:06
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It was an interesting angle but sadly the situation that you described is not possible because the massive Osmium body on one side of the planet would sink to the centre of the planet. The rock beneath it would not be able to withstand the weight and would flow around it. A bit like a car driven into a swamp.

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  • $\begingroup$ Slarty: I agree with that -- and said as much in my answer. But that sinking will happen on a geologic time scale. For a long period of time, it will not be in the center, and during that window, a moon would orbit off center -- got a couple other people confirming that. The bigger problem -- what makes it impossible -- with my answer is the planet's orbit around the sun, as flagged by one of the other commenters. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Feb 14 '20 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, perhaps your're right, but I suppose it depends on how big it is and how long we are talking about, but yes I suppose it would take a time we could argue about the amount but... $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Feb 14 '20 at 15:11

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