Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Earth acquiring the Moon
Name: Andre Vernon
Status: Other
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
What is the leading theory on how the Earth acquired the Moon?



Replies:
The current leading theory is that both the Earth and Moon formed as proto- planets orbiting at the same distance from the Sun. This early stage in the development of the Solar System occurred about 4.5 billion years ago. Around 1 billion years later, the Moon was captured by the Earth's gravity and began orbiting the Earth. The evidence for this is that catastrophic changes occurred on the surfaces of both the Earth and Moon at this time: the Earth's surface melted, and the maria were formed on the Moon. These changes were the result of enormous tidal forces generated as the Moon passed close to the Earth's Roche limit.

Hawley


Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory