Friday, January 30, 2009


Our solar system formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago and the moon arrived 4.53 billion years ago. The sun radiated energy to the earth, whose orbit was stabilized by the moon, allowing for life to emerge on the earth's surface within one billion years of its formation.

The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but at its current distance, it is 400 times closer. That is a unique relationship between any three bodies in our solar system, which is comprised of eight planets and 166 known moons.

Since the moon initiated its orbit around the earth, it has been steadily moving away from the earth at a rate of 3.8 cm/year. That means there is a "brief" window of less than 200 million years during which these two celestial bodies appear to be the same size when viewed from the surface of earth. As luck has it, the rise of a species with intellect suitable to appreciate such a harmony lives on the surface of the earth at the proper time to view such a singular phenomenon.

The dinosaurs would have seen a much larger moon totally block out the sun; our cyberprogeny will see a smaller moon passing in front of the sun, but only we can appreciate the corona effect with the sun illuminating a heavenly glow around the moon during a total eclipse.

Makes me want to propose a Junto Boys field trip to a location ripe for the viewing the next time the umbral shadow falls on the mainland USA.


Sir Saunders said...

That would be awesome, I'll gladly come. Just name the place!

Tom said...

I'll go too. I've wanted to see one since I read a "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

E said...

(Blind Chance is quite the Creative Genius. She forgot only to infuse Her creation with meaning. Of all the rotten Luck.)

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