Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just Wondering...

Hey, have any of you ever sort of marveled at how perfectly round the moon is?
Yesterday, as I pulled into the Starbucks parking lot after work, the moon was low on the horizon… it was not even dark out yet, and WOW!
The moon was the size of about three of four normal moons.
What I mean is – if it is supposed to be a cast off of Earth [which in itself, is pretty severely round also, am I wrong?] like… how is it that it is so PERFECTLY ROUND?
I mean... don't get me wrong. I'm not asking Sarah Palin here.
But seriously, it is a question I would like to put to someone like Richard Dawkins when he and I get to heaven.

In my [pseudo-atheistic] imagination, I would think it should have some aberrations to it, some jagged pieces and whatnot. This perfect roundness really floors me.
I could see if maybe one side of it was squared off a bit. Or looked like an ostrich.
But my God, it’s so PERFECTLY….. as in FLAWLESSLY round.

Hey, speaking of roundness – have you ever seen this kid that can draw a PERFECTLY round circle on a chalkboard? It’s pretty neat.
If you are as bored as me right now…CLICK HERE!



Anonymous said...

who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where

Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

ee cummings

Anonymous said...


o(rounD)moon, how
than roUnd)float:
lly &(rOunder than)


-- e e cummings

How are you, Cip?
Soph the MoonWatcher

Isabella said...

Amazing, isn't it, the moon?!

I think the jaggedness gets worn away by virtue of its being tossed about in space, like a pebble in the ocean.

But I like Anonymous's answer better.

Anonymous said...

Science --- Yes, Planets seem to be spheres, not cubes or cylinders or oddball rocky shapes. Some smaller bodies such as asteroids or Mars moons Phobos and Deimos, do have odd shapes, but larger bodies like the nine planets and most of their moons do look like spheres. That's because of the nature of gravity. You can think of gravity as a force that points inward toward the center of the planet so that every part of the surface is pulled evenly toward the center, resulting in a spherical shape.
Of course, planets are not perfect spheres because mountains and valleys and even skyscrapers are all deviations from the spherical shape. However, as planets get larger, gravity gets stronger, until eventually large objects on the surface are crushed under their own weight. That's why we don't have mountains that are 50 miles high or skyscrapers that are 2,000 stories tall. Planets stay basically spherical because any large deviations get crushed.

Although gravity keeps planets close to spherical, there are other forces that cause deviations from the basic spherical shape. For example, the rotation of the earth once every 24 hours, causes an apparent centrifugal force which creates a bulge at the equator. In fact the earth's diameter at the equator is 7,926 miles while the diameter between the poles is only 7,900.

cipriano said...

That is so wild, Anonymous.
Because just yesterday I was watching Peter Mansbridge interview Bob MacDonald, the "Quirks and Quarks" guy on TV, and the show was just a series of questions he answered and one of them was this thing about people weighing more at The North or The South pole than they do at the Equator.
He was talking about that centrifugal force thing, and mentioning how the Earth actually is NOT perfectly round. And because of the differing gravitational forces, a person weighs something like two pounds more at the Poles than at the Equator. The way he put it was that the difference in your weight would be about the amount of you drinking a Starbucks coffee....... so I could totally relate to his analogy!
Thank you for commenting, e.e. cummings, isabella, and anonymous.