How Did the Moon Get Where It Is?

Earth and Moon formed following a massive collision billions of years ago. A new theory answers questions about their composition and the Moon's orbit. (NASA image)

We look up at the moon every night, but did you ever wonder how it got there?

There is a new theory to explain how the moon got where it is in our solar system.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, University of California, Davis, researchers, working with scientists from University of Maryland and Harvard University, developed a new model in which a high-energy collision left a mass of vaporized and molten material from which the Earth and moon formed.

Over a few tens of million years, the moon continued to slowly move away from Earth until it reached a second transition point, the Cassini transition, at which point the inclination of the moon — the angle between the moon’s orbit and the ecliptic — dropped to about 5 degrees, putting the moon more or less in its current orbit.

The research was supported by NASA.

Here's a video that shows how UC Davis studies the planets.

Read the full story here.

Related stories

Synestia, a New Type of Planetary Object (with video)

Scientist Who Studies How Planets Formed Named MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow  (with video)  

Primary Category