Origin of the Moon: Dynamical Considerations
The Moon is a unique body in the solar system. Other planets have their satellites, but only the Earth possesses a satellite whose orbital angular momentum about its primary exceeds the rotational angular momentum of the primary. For all the other planets, the orbital angular momentum of their satellites is a small fraction of the rotational momentum of the planet. While there are other satellites more massive than the Moon, no other planet possesses a satellite whose mass is such a substantial fraction of the mass of the primary. These unique dynamical characteristics of the Moon have led to a wide diversity of theories regarding its origin, and today, as in past centuries, the Moon’s origin remains a matter of debate.
KeywordsAngular Momentum Orbital Element Giant Planet Earth Radius Tidal Interaction
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bartels, J. (1957), “ Gezeitenkräfte,” in: S. Flügge (ed.), Handbuch der Physik 48: Springer-Verlage, Berlin.Google Scholar
- Brouwer, D. and Clemence, G. M. (1961), Methods of Celestial Mechanics, Academic Press, New York and London.Google Scholar
- Jeffreys, H. (1959), The Earth, ed. 4, Cambridge University Press, London.Google Scholar
- Munk, W. H. and MacDonald, G. J. F. (1960), The Rotation of the Earth, Cambridge University Press, London.Google Scholar
- Urey, H. C. (1963), in: D. P. Legalley (ed.) Space Science, John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar