Moon To Rubble

An Iowa State University astronomer says the expanding red giant phase of our sun will “push” the moon closer to Earth, where it will eventually break up under the influence of our planet’s gravity and form a Saturn-like ring. The ring would be a temporary phase before those fragments begin dropping on the dessicated surface of a future dead Earth. Sort of sounds like the Bush presidency.

Lee Anne Willson tells us:

The Moon’s actual path is a wiggly line around the sun, with it moving faster when it is slightly farther out (at full moon) and more slowly when it is slightly closer (at new moon). So the gas drag is more effective at the farther part of the orbit and this will put the Moon into an orbit where the new moon is closer to Earth than the full moon.

helix-nebula.jpgThere are other possible scenarios, but the major determining factor is how much of the sun is blown away when all the hydrogen has been fused into  helium. If the sun loses little mass, then eventually the Earth will burn to a crisp as the sun expands into its red giant phase at about 5000000000 CE. If the sun burps out a significant portion of itself (as in the Helix Nebula over there) then the sun’s gravity, weakened enough, may push the earth out to a relatively safer distance.

Safety is relative, unfortunately. Before the moon gets crushed, our oceans will have already turned to steam and burned off, leaving a lifeless planet behind.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Moon To Rubble

  1. Anne says:

    Wow…that news just made my day…LOL
    Puts things into perspective doesn’t it?
    Just how important is the goal of full conscious active participation in the liturgy?
    Love you trads!!

  2. Gavin says:

    The answer is clear: we have to get stop the faux Klingons.

  3. John Behr says:

    Our galaxy should collide with the Andromeda galaxy between 3 and 7 billion years from now, maybe before Todd’s scenarios.
    Contemporary verses to encourage active participation:

    The nearest galaxy has crashed here first
    Our stars and dust are mingling
    Seeding novae and a gamma-ray burst
    How can I keep from singing?

    Firey heavens can’t shake my inmost calm
    to this cool rock I’m clinging
    The sun’s not yet expanded to cook the earth
    How can I keep from singing?

    (Sorry about the contorted meter. 4th mode plainchant works OK.)

  4. Anne says:

    Excellent John! This will be a “classic” in 3-7 billion years from now! Hymnals will not be necessary.

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