Did You Know That the Earth Is Slowing Down?

Earth Is Slowing Down

Yes it is, due to a transfer of Earth’s rotational momentum to the Moon’s orbital momentum. Known as tidal friction, this process means that the rotation of Earth is slowing down. That increase in the Moon’s speed is causing it to slowly recede from Earth. Though it is only moving away by about 4 centimeters per year, the moon is moving further away from the Earth.  Ultimately, this leads increasing its orbital period and the length of a month as well.

Earth is slowing downTo picture what is happening, imagine yourself riding a bicycle on a track built around a Merry-go-Round. You are riding in the same direction that it is turning. If you have a lasso and rope one of the horses, you would gain speed and the Merry-Go-Round would lose some.

In this analogy, you and your bike represent the Moon, the Merry-Go-Round is the rotating Earth, and your lasso is gravity.

In orbital mechanics, a gain in speed results in a higher orbit.



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I have started this blog many years ago, and have since handed it off to someone else to continue bringing you some great did-you-knows and fun facts.