How the Moon Got Its Weird

(Slate::Bad Astronomy) – Phil Plait:

Tens of millions of years after it initially formed, the Earth was whacked by a Mars-size object at a glancing angle. This flung a huge amount of material into space, which formed a disk over Earth’s equator. The Moon coalesced from this ejecta, and the Earth was left spinning rapidly, with a day just five hours long. Over time, interactions between the Earth and Moon slowed our spin and moved the Moon out, away from the Earth to where we see it now.

That explains a lot of the weirdness we see from the Moon; its unusual size is due to the large amount of material blasted into space, for example. But there are problems. …

bad_astronomy 2016/12/01 moon_formation

planetary smash-up

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