Astronomy and Astrophysics

Study suggests Earth once had many moonlets — until they merged to form the moon

Study suggests Earth once had many moonlets — until they merged to form the moon

The moon is the most obvious and familiar object in Earth's night sky - constant, consistent, predictable in its monthly cycles and its daily rising and setting. Astronomers understand the moon's movements so thoroughly that even a break from the routine, like an eclipse, can be anticipated 1,000 years in advance.

But we don't know the moon as well as we think. In fact, for years, astronomy has been in an uproar over the origin of Earth's only natural satellite, grappling to make sense of a model that seems increasingly unsatisfactory.

Now, a team of Israeli researchers has shaken up the debate by offering an entirely new explanation, published this week in the journal...

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