If the moon stopped orbiting the earth

  • Thread starter lisa1234
  • Start date
  • #1
7
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

I know this is impossible, but theoretically speaking what would happen if the moon was stopped, so that it stopped orbiting the earth and "stood still"? Would it hit earth or what impact would it have on earth?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
diazona
Homework Helper
2,175
6
If the moon momentarily stopped moving with respect to the Earth, then the Earth's gravity would pull the moon toward it. After a short time they would crash together. (It's likely that tidal forces would start pulling both the Earth and moon apart before they actually hit)
 
  • #3
Fuz
71
0
It's similar to if a plane somehow stopped mid-flight, it would just fall.
 
  • #4
7
0
Thank you!
But since it gains speed as it falls closer to earth wouldn't it again go into a stable orbit? Or doesn't it work that way?:S
 
  • #5
diazona
Homework Helper
2,175
6
No. Think about which direction the moon would be moving. It would be gaining speed toward the earth, which would just cause it to keep coming. In order to go into a stable orbit, it would need to change direction and start moving parallel to the Earth's surface.
 
  • #6
7
0
Okey! But if the moon fell shouldnt the moon's force of gravity have an impact on earth as well, so that they both were attracted towards each other and the earth would "move"?
 
  • #7
diazona
Homework Helper
2,175
6
Yep, that's exactly what would happen.
 
  • #8
7
0
Is there anyway to calculate with what force the moon would hit earth and/or how long it would take? Or would such calculations be too complicated..? Is there in that case any simpler way to estimate the force and time?
 
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
19,322
5,358
You can use Newton's laws, plugged into a spreadsheet. It isn't too difficult. It would take several days for the moon to hit the earth.
 
  • #10
7
0
Could you show me more precisely how i could do that? What kind of equations would i use etc?
Thanks!
 

Related Threads for: If the moon stopped orbiting the earth

  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
12K
Replies
1
Views
897
Replies
15
Views
25K
Replies
18
Views
7K
Replies
1
Views
5K
Replies
19
Views
469
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
40K
Replies
16
Views
5K
Top