Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 decade ago

Does the moon's presence affect the earth's orbit or rotation at all?

Since the moon is pretty big relative to the planet it orbits. Would the earth orbit or rotate any different if the moon weren't there? I'm aware of tides.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Of course!!!

    The gravitational field of the Moon cause heavy perturbations in the Earth's orbit making it more elliptical.

    Effects of Moon on Earth:

    1. The Moon affects the liquid envelope of the Earth, and the oceanic tides in particular.

    2. The crust of the Earth is also affected.

    3. The Moon’s tidal forcing causes significant heating and dissipation of energy to take place. Part of this energy is heating the Earth, and part of it is dissipated by forcing the Moon to recede from the Earth over time.

    4. There are some very subtle effects of the Moon in the climate and the oceans.

    5. The Moon has been a stabilizing factor for the axis of rotation of the Earth.

    6. The Moon has changed the way life evolved on Earth, allowing for the emergence of more complex multi-cellular organisms.

    What will happen if our Earth does not have a Moon ?

    1. There will be a massive change in the global altitude of the ocean.

    2. Right now there is a distortion which is elongated around the equator, so if we didn’t have this effect, suddenly a lot of water would be redistributed toward the polar regions.

    3. The level of adaptation of night vision

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it affects the Earth's rotation but not its orbit.

    The Moon causes ocean tides on Earth to bulge towards it. However, the Earth is rotating faster than the Moon orbits so the tidal bulge swings ahead of the Moons pull. The gravity of this off center bulge pulls the Moon to a higher orbit and in the process slows the Earth’s rotation a little.

    Another consequence of the Moon being farther away is that it takes longer to orbit the Earth; the lunar month becomes longer. In the future, the maximum length of the day will be reached when the Earth rotates at the same speed that the Moon orbits. In other words, the day and the lunar month will have the exact same length, somewhere near 47 of our present 24-hour days. At this point, since the tidal bulge will not be swinging ahead of the Moon's orbit, the Moon will no longer be moving away but will remain in a stable orbit.


  • 4 years ago

    Moons Orbit And Rotation

  • 1 decade ago

    The most current theory on the formation of the moon states that a huge glancing impact from a Mars sized planetoid 4.5 billion years ago tilted the earth's axis 23 degrees, and resulted in the Moon's formation. If that hadn't happened, the earth's spin would be chaotic, like a spinning top, resulting in ever changing climate environment on earth. Life might never have evolved with an irregular climate that altered every frew thousand years. The moon stabilizes the spin, keeping the axis steady.

    The early earth had a 6 hour long day, which created high winds and 1000 foot high ocean waves. The drag from the moon/tides, has slowed the day to 24 hours, resulting in more hospitable weather for life.

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  • Nomadd
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The moon is gradually slowing down the earth's rotation and keeps it relativly stable. It does affect earth's orbit by making the earth wobble back and forth over about a 6,000 mile range every lunar orbit.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes it would. Tides would be non-existant. Many more meteors and asteroids would hit the planet because the Moon absorbs alot of them or steers them off course from Earth. Orbit would be the same, but rotation would probably be unstable and constantly changing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I read or heard that the moon is vitally important for us. It calms our wind down, so we don't have hurricane - force gales all the time. And it's large enough that it no doubt operates as a "drag" on our rotation. Earth/moon is almost a twin planet. Gravity on the moon is 1/6 of ours, isn't it? That's a larger effect than Phobos and Deimos would have on Mars. Those dinky moons are only a few miles in diameter.

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