Moon shape mystery solved?
Credit: Bill Anders/NASA
“Scientists have known for centuries that the Moon isn’t round. Rather, the Moon is a flattened sphere — like a football [American] — and is elongated on the side that faces the Earth.
Despite this knowledge, scientists have been mystified that the Moon’s distorted dimensions don’t match their predictions, given its current orbit and distance from Earth. The Moon, mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace noted in 1799, is too deformed and too flat.”
Using a computer model that put the moon into an eccentric orbit, combined with a faster spin and less distance from the Earth, MIT researchers have been able to account for the Moon’s odd shape.
I found this an interesting article – but confess to knowing little about such things.
- “This is so cosmic for me,” said [Maria] Zuber, about her group’s accomplishment. “I’ve been trying to figure out the shape of the moon for a large part of my career.”