According to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe (by Douglas Adams), the real (but allegedly fictional) Hitchhiker's Guide has a chapter on flying. Not flying in something but flying by yourself. Call it personal flying.
According to the Guide, all you have to do is hurl yourself at the earth and miss. This, you will easily surmise, is not easy to do. There are explanations of how you might accomplish missing the earth; distractions and the types, thereof, mostly. Once you initially and successfully miss the earth, there are ongoing distractions which are needed to remain missing it.
I mused on this for awhile (I muse often, hence the name of this blog) and came to the conclusion that this is what satellites do. It is quite possible that Mr. Adams mused on what satellites do and then came up with the chapter. Thereby causing me to muse in the opposite direction. But I digress.
Let's get back to satellites... Our moon is in a delicate balance between gravity and speed. Yet it is moving away from the earth at a rate of approximately 3cm per year. I am led to believe that the moon will never, barring some odd catastrophe, leave its orbit. I dislike the word "never" in this context.
There are four main theories of how the moon formed.
1. Co-Formation (Earth & Moon formed together in place)
2. Capture (Earth gravitationally captured the Moon)
3. Fission (Moon split off from a fast-spinning proto-Earth)
4. Giant Impact (Proto-Earth hit by a Mars-sized body and Moon formed from the debris).
Some say the moon does not revolve, as the earth does, but this is not entirely true. It's just that its rotation is such that only one side ever faces the earth. That is, its revolution precisely matches its orbit around the earth. You have to think about this to realize it. It takes some musing.
My musings then took me to think about the various moons around the planets we can see. That is, the ones in our own solar system. We can't see the planets in other solar systems but we can surmise that they will not differ greatly from the ones nearby.
One planet in our system seems to have no moons, Saturn. Yet it does. It has thirty of them. It also has rings.
Saturn is not the only planet in our system to have rings. So do Jupiter, Uranus (do not giggle), and Neptune.
All of this brings me back to my original musing. Which is about balance. Just as our own moon is in a delicate balance of speed versus gravity, so are other satellites in the same delicate balance around their respective planets. And planets around their suns. And systems around their galactic cores and, one muses, galaxies around the universal center.
I'm getting dizzy.
And this musing is why I never get anything done.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago