What Happens if the Moon Disappeared Tomorrow?

In Tom Cruise's latest movie Oblivion, the Moon was destroyed by an alien being and that unleashed a series of natural disasters that wrecked the Earth. But what exactly will happen if suddenly the Moon disappeared tomorrow?

Larry O'Hanlon of Discovery News answers, with science:

We’d no longer watch the phases of the moon at night, but see a glittering cloud of debris which would probably be a lot brighter than the full moon, what with all those zillions of little surfaces to reflect sunlight. I know some astronomers who would really hate this new interference with their dark skies.

But if the moon were dragged off and completely removed, there would be none of its mass left to tug gravitationally on the Earth. One of the effects would be that we could throw out tide tables for good.

The ocean tides would still happen, but the bulge of water would follow the sun, so you could expect high tides around noon everywhere, everyday. I know some fishermen who would appreciate this.

Since the solid Earth flexes tidally, it makes sense that there might be some internal grumbling when Earth loses the moon. Earthquakes. Maybe a few volcanoes getting rowdy. That kind of stuff. But there’s no reason to worry (or hope) that California will fall into the Pacific.

The short answer? Nothing much will happen. The long answer? Read it over at Discovery News: Link


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