Here's Why The Moon Is Shaped Sort Of Like A Lemon
Early tidal effects shaped the moon, according to a new study.
The study explains that the earth's powerful gravity tugged the moon into its oddball shape long ago.
The new findings could help researchers solve longstanding lunar mysteries, e.g., why it's near side is dominated by dark volcanic deposits while the far side is not.
In 1898, researchers had proposed an idea known as "fossil bulge" hypothesis that explained the bulge on the lunar surface.
"If you imagine spinning a water balloon, it will start to flatten at the poles and bulge at the equator," said Ian Garrick-Bethell, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, according to a press release. "On top of that you have tides due to the gravitational pull of the Earth, and that creates sort of a lemon shape with the long axis of the lemon pointing at the Earth."
According to researchers, the moon formed from debris blasted into space when a mysterious planet-size body slammed into the newly formed Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. Researchers added that the moon was born hot and it came into existence near to Earth.
The study is published in the journal Nature.