Vanishing Act


I think one of the most common misunderstandings people have about the earth is how our tides actually work. Most people know it has “something to do with the moon or something” but it’s one of those things that never really got explained to us during elementary school so it didn’t quite stick. Our tides are caused by the gravitational effects of the sun and moon on our liquid water. Lunar tides are large and solar tides are small. When the solar and lunar tides are in phase, tides become really large. When out of phase, they flatten out quite a bit. Because tides are caused by both the sun and moon, the disappearance of the moon wouldn’t actually eliminate tides. What it would do however is add a certain regularity to them. Because tides would now depend upon only one celestial body rather than two that move independently, we would see tides peak at exactly the same time each day and with very little variance in strength.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s