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article imageScientific discovery changes how we view the moon

By Walter McDaniel     Jul 31, 2014 in Science
Most of our readers probably think of the moon as a circle, or perhaps as a "big pizza pie" as one song puts it. Researchers have now found that it is actually shaped like a lemon.
According to reports in Nature shifts in the moon's crust have led to a lemon shape. Orbital forces have slowly shaped it into this new form that has an equatorial bulge. Of course this all happened long before even our recent ancestors were alive which means that our understanding of the moon's shape has been wrong for some time.
Scientist Ian Garrick-Bethell, from the University of California, Santa Cruz performed the research with his team. He used a laser altimeter to create super-accurate maps of the moon's surface, before calculating its topography. As with any new findings researchers will have to check his facts. His paper makes a convincing case for this shape.
He believes that there was once much more lunar water than what we have seen so far. Shifts in the crust due to tides which shifted then froze apparently contributed to this form if his theory is correct.
While this discovery is unlikely to bring any sudden scientific advances it is vital for helping us understand how our Moon interacts with the Earth. Scientists have also discovered water on Jupiter's moon as well and this finding about our nearby body could improve studies later on.
More about Astrophysics, Moon, Research, Discovery, Tides
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