The Moon being closer to Earth

News from Space

Why I am interested in this topic

I wonder about what would happen if the Moon were closer to Earth because it seems like the world runs smoothly with how everything is placed and situated in the solar system. So, what if something changed or moved? Would the Earth still work the same? What would change or be affected? Would the changes affect the Earth positively or negatively?

A Closer Encounter

Right now, the Moon orbits the Earth from about 238,000 miles away. Imagine if it came as close as 260 miles away. It would take up about half the sky. The color would also change because of the relative position of the Earth and Sun. The middle part of the Moon wouldn't be illuminated at all. Also, the Moon would orbit the Earth faster.

This is an estimation of what the sky would look like if the Moon was that close.

Big image

The Other Side of the Moon

We don't see the other side of the Moon because of the rotation and orbit time that it takes to get around the Earth.

Here is a helpful video that makes understanding the rotation of the Moon easier.

Synchronous Rotation of the Moon

Could we see more of the Moon if it were closer?

Currently, the Moon takes about 27 days to fully orbit the Earth and rotate on it's axis. If it were closer, it would get around the Earth faster (if it were 260 miles away, it would orbit in about 90 minutes) but if the rotation rate stayed the same, we would see more of the Moon faster. Also, it would block out the sun, kind of like a giant dark cloud, until it moved along with it's orbit and out of the way.

What about the tides in the oceans?

If the Moon were closer, the tides would be higher. The gravity of Earth would increase. There would be tidal waves km's high all over the world. There would also be earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The gravity would be messed with, so even things like plate tectonics would be affected.

Cool Connection

Ever seen or heard of the movie Interstellar? Well, in the movie the crew lands on Miller's planet. Miller's planet orbits Gargantua which has a great gravitational pull on Miller, about 130% of Earth's. So, the planet is like an endless shallow sea with a swell of gigantic recurring waves.

Now think back to the Moon's affect on Earth's tides.

Earth would seem very similar to Miller's planet. Crazy, right?

Clip from the movie 'Interstellar'