Moons birth changed the length of days on EarthApril 21st, 2008 - 1:18 pm ICT by admin
London, April 21 (ANI): A scientist has used a computer model to determine that the process due to which the moon formed might have changed the length of days on Earth and set the direction in which it spins.
According to a report in New Scientist, Robin Canup of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US, developed the computer model.
The moon is widely thought to have formed after an object roughly the size of Mars crashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, throwing up a cloud of debris that eventually coalesced into a rocky sphere.
Canup wanted to find out if this process was influenced by the spin of the Earth at the time - something previous models of the moons formation did not take into account.
For his research work into the matter, Canup built a computer model that used as many as 120,000 pieces of virtual rock to simulate the two colliding bodies.
Her model showed that the Earths rotation beforehand may have been very different to what it is today.
Prior to the impact, the Earths axis of rotation may have been steeply tilted, and the planet would have spun much faster, with a day lasting as little as 4 hours.
The model also showed that the direction in which the Earth spins could have been reversed by the impact.
If the Earth had previously rotated in this way, its current spin and that of the moon can be accounted for, said Canup.
Whats more, if the Earth had once spun faster, enough material would have been thrown up by the impact to make the moon the size it is, she added. (ANI)
Tags: axis of rotation, boulder colorado, computer model, debris, earth, earths axis, earths rotation, length of days, london, models, moon, moons, new scientist, robin canup, southwest research institute, sphere, virtual rock