Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Bedroom Window

The bedroom opens onto a lanai (patio) with a panoramic view of the bay. Houston saw a lovely full Moon over the bay last night. The human-made moons of ISS and Discovery also passed overhead. In Houston people are still working hard to reach the Moon. Nights like this are made for contemplating the Moon.

The Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment measures the Moon's distance at 384,402 km. LLRE also reports the Moon receding at 3.82 cm/yr, anomolously high. If the Moon were gaining angular momentum at this rate it would have coincided with Earth only 1.5 billion years ago.

Geology and paleontology can measure more precisely how the lunar orbit has changed, reporting only about 2.8 cm/yr. This figure can be measured precisely. If the speed of light slows according to GM=tc^3, the time for light signals to return will increase each year. The Moon would appear to recede an extra .935 cm/yr as seen by LLRE. The lunar orbit anomaly is precisely accounted for.

One day the world that wonders at the sky will look up and see light slowing down. In the meantime, looking at the Moon is still a pleasure.

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Anonymous Ed Davies said...

"9.35 cm/yr"

9.35 mm/yr, presumably.

When will you Americans stop using these old fashioned c.g.s units (cm) and start using SI (mm)? ;-)

12:45 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks for the spellcheck, ed. Such things happen when blogging in the dark.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Bjoern said...

What about work showing that the recession speed of the moon depends on the arrangement of the continents on Earth? As far as I know, calculations have shown that e. g. during the time of Pangea (one single massive continent), the effect of tidal friction had been much smaller than today, which explain the slower recession speed of the moon in those days without invoking a changing speed of light.
For a detailed explanation, see e. g. here:

7:43 AM  
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Blogger cristian said...

I think that at present we have all the necessary technology to slow the moon down and keep it on a desirable orbit around the Earth. I wouldn't worry to much about the moon disappearing one day and to be never heard from again.
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11:17 PM  
Anonymous Jasmine said...

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