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Receding Moon Essay

Astronomical free essay example

It is evident that the moon is increasingly drifting away from the earth as demonstrated by the laser beams reflecting of the moon. A number of explanations have been forwarded to this movement. One of the most sited reasons is that the moon’s, which is also the earths orbit, is gradually enlarging. The moon’s orbit is however an ellipse of the earth thereby relies heavily on the earth’s gravitational force of attraction which holds the moon to its orbit. Whenever the mass of the earth is constant, the mass of the moon must likewise remain constant. The earth is larger than the moon and constantly gains more mass than the moon due to the constant bombardment of asteroids and other debris in space. This increase in mass is vividly decreasing the energy of the earth to hold on to the moon hence the drift (Hawkins 2007).

The tidal force that is exerted on Earth by the moon causes the oceans to bulge. In addition, the earth rotates on its axis faster than the speed at which the moon revolves around the earth. This rotation brings the tidal bulge that is ahead of the position of the moon and constantly tugs the moon forward thereby increasing the total energy of the moon. The moon is as a result lifted into a wider orbit around the Earth. This is what the astronauts have measured as the recession of the moon from the earth (Bussey & Paul 2004).

The earth’s gravitational pull causes the moon to have a distorted shape like that of an egg and creates tidal bulges as well on the surface of the moon. This force also slows down the rotation of the moon. On the other hand, the tidal bulges created by the moon on earth are not located directly below the moon but are slightly ahead of the moon. The moon is therefore pulled along since it rotates slower than the earth making the moon to have a longer orbit. The relationship is always in contrast in that when the velocity of the moon increases the velocity of the earth decreases. This is in fact another reason for the recession of the moon from the earth.

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