Moon & Tides: Learn How They're Connected

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In summary: similar to how you might feel if you stuck your arm out of a car window while it's driving, and your arm went straight up.
  • #1
misskitty
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Morning everyone!

I was up late a few nights ago and I noticed how large the moon looked in the sky. Being a creature of habit myself, I began to wonder why the moon controls the ocean tides. I've been thinking about it and I couldn't come up with an answer. The moon controls the tides. Thats all I really know. I then began to wonder if the moon controls any other phenonmenon here on Earth. Does anyone have any thoughts?
 
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  • #2
The moon is a large mass and exerts significant gravitational pull on the earth, which has noticable effect on the level of water in the Earth's oceans. Try to get your hands on a basic geography textbook- it should give you an explanation of it.
As for other Earth phenomenon- for one, I'd speculate that the Earth's atmosphere shows similar 'tides' and this may have influence on winds and other weater. Whether this has been researvhed or not I'm not sure.
 
  • #3
Hmm, I wonder if I weigh less when the moon is above me and weigh more when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth? I imagine that I would, but it must be an almost insignificant amount.

Yeah, the moon exerts a gravitational force on the Earth. It raises the water level on one side of the planet and lowers it on the other. As the Earth rotates it creates the tides. The tides are hugely important to global weather systems. Weather patterns like El Nino are created by tidal forces and solar energy.

What was the question again?
Huck
 
  • #4
Huckleberry said:
Yeah, the moon exerts a gravitational force on the Earth. It raises the water level on one side of the planet and lowers it on the other.

This is incorrect.

The water level is RAISED on BOTH sides of the globe, both nearest and furthest away from the moon.
 
  • #5
Brewnog is correct. I only accounted for the gravitational pull of the moon on the water of the Earth. I neglected to include the gravitational force of the moon on the Earth itself that pulls the Earth away from the water on the far side. Interesting, and it makes sense since there are 2 hightides and 2 low tides in one day.
 
  • #6
Huh, I didn't know it raised the water level on both sides of the planet at the same time.
 
  • #7
matthyaouw said:
The moon is a large mass and exerts significant gravitational pull on the earth, which has noticable effect on the level of water in the Earth's oceans. Try to get your hands on a basic geography textbook- it should give you an explanation of it.
As for other Earth phenomenon- for one, I'd speculate that the Earth's atmosphere shows similar 'tides' and this may have influence on winds and other weater. Whether this has been researvhed or not I'm not sure.

Matthyaouw, do you mean the moon might effect the jet stream as well as the tides?
 
  • #8
Huckleberry said:
Hmm, I wonder if I weigh less when the moon is above me and weigh more when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth? I imagine that I would, but it must be an almost insignificant amount.

Yeah, the moon exerts a gravitational force on the Earth. It raises the water level on one side of the planet and lowers it on the other. As the Earth rotates it creates the tides. The tides are hugely important to global weather systems. Weather patterns like El Nino are created by tidal forces and solar energy.

What was the question again?
Huck

Huck, the orginal questions were; how does the moon affect the tides and does it affect any other natural phenomenon here on Earth? :smile:
 
  • #9
misskitty said:
Matthyaouw, do you mean the moon might effect the jet stream as well as the tides?

I wasn't really thinking specifically jet streams... perhaps the height of the tropopause, much like it affects the height of the water. I suppose this could in turn affect winds and pressure, and thus the jet streams to some extent. I am merely speculating though, so I wouldn't give it too much thought. I might look into this more once my exams are over.
 
  • #10
We've missed one.

The Moon is well known to temporarily increase the global population of wolves for a few hours each lunar cycle...
 
  • #12
misskitty said:
Huh, I didn't know it raised the water level on both sides of the planet at the same time.

A better way to think of this is that is raises water on the near side of the planet, but "slacks off" on the other side.

The water on the far side of the planet (with respect to the Moon) is under less pull, and more accurately "falls off" the bottom. To those of us standing there ("upsidedown" wrt Moon :) ) this is experienced as a raising of the local water level.
 
  • #13
couple of useful introductory links on this...
http://www.seds.org/billa/tnp/luna.html (brief description)
http://www.astronomynotes.com/gravappl/s10.htm (more complete)

note that this tidal effect is not only on water & air, but also on the Earth's and moon's rock (just to a much lesser degree)
 
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  • #14
brewnog said:
We've missed one.

The Moon is well known to temporarily increase the global population of wolves for a few hours each lunar cycle...

Also don't forget, all of us (bags of water) are affected by the moon's gravity.
However some are affected more so that others, they of course are lunatics.
Something to ponder.. If we had no moon, would we (humanity) still be here? Would the Earth's rate of spin change?
Would the Earth wobble to the same extent or wobble wildly out of control?
 
  • #15
Ouabache said:
Would the Earth's rate of spin change?

The tidal interaction between the Earth & Moon slows the Earth's orbit. A billion years ago, days were a few hours shorter. (I'm estimating...a quick Google would likely give you the exact rate)
 
  • #16
Phobos said:
The tidal interaction between the Earth & Moon slows the Earth's orbit. A billion years ago, days were a few hours shorter. (I'm estimating...a quick Google would likely give you the exact rate)
That is interesting.. I suppose that may have to do with the moon's recession away from earth. (estimated at 3.8cm/yr). That would make sense. As the moon recedes, it would have less gravitational influence on us and our rate of spin would decrease.
 
  • #17
misskitty said:
I then began to wonder if the moon controls any other phenonmenon here on Earth. Does anyone have any thoughts?

I just watched a nature documentary that said corals time the release of their eggs and sperm by the full moon.
 
  • #18
Sea turtles do the same thing, sometimes traveling thousands of miles.
 
  • #19
I heard about the coral reefs...had to especially after visiting the great barrier reef which is stellar at night even though I haven't seen it at night...all brown an crusty looking during the day time though. I knew a bit about the turtles too. It always amazes me how attuned to everything animals are.
 
  • #20
Weight gain/loss

Huckleberry said:
Hmm, I wonder if I weigh less when the moon is above me and weigh more when the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth? I imagine that I would, but it must be an almost insignificant amount.

So, at average distance of the moon (~384400 km) and diameter of the Earth (~6400km), the acceleration due to the Moon's gravity on opposing sides of Earth is only different by ~10^-6 m/s^2. This, as compared to acceleration of gravity from Earth (~9.8 m/s^2) should translate to pretty insignificant weight gain/loss:wink:
 
  • #21
johnyp03 said:
So, at average distance of the moon (~384400 km) and diameter of the Earth (~6400km), the acceleration due to the Moon's gravity on opposing sides of Earth is only different by ~10^-6 m/s^2. This, as compared to acceleration of gravity from Earth (~9.8 m/s^2) should translate to pretty insignificant weight gain/loss:wink:

Nevertheless that effect is causing the precession of the equinoxes which makes the Earth spin axis to drift around in a conical cycle which takes ~26,000 to complete.
 

Related to Moon & Tides: Learn How They're Connected

1. What causes the tides?

The gravitational pull of the moon and sun is what causes the tides on Earth. As the moon and sun orbit around the Earth, their gravitational forces create bulges in the ocean's surface, resulting in high and low tides.

2. How does the moon affect the tides?

The moon's gravitational pull is stronger than the sun's, which means that the moon has a greater influence on the tides. The moon's gravitational force pulls the water towards it, creating a high tide on the side of the Earth facing the moon and a high tide on the opposite side as well.

3. Why do we have two high tides and two low tides each day?

As the Earth rotates on its axis, each location on Earth experiences two high tides and two low tides in a 24-hour period. This is because the moon's gravitational pull affects the water on both sides of the Earth, creating two high tides and two low tides as the Earth rotates.

4. How do the positions of the moon and sun impact the tides?

The positions of the moon and sun in relation to the Earth play a crucial role in the tides. When the moon and sun are aligned, their gravitational forces combine to create higher high tides and lower low tides, known as spring tides. When the moon and sun are at right angles to each other, their gravitational forces offset each other, resulting in lower high tides and higher low tides, known as neap tides.

5. Can the moon and tides affect each other in any other ways?

Aside from the gravitational pull, the moon and tides can also affect each other through the Earth's rotation. As the Earth's rotation slows down over time, the moon's orbit is also affected, causing it to drift farther away from Earth. This, in turn, affects the strength of the moon's gravitational pull and can lead to changes in the tides over long periods of time.

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