How often have you been intrigued by the thoughts about space and the celestial bodies? As kids, we really get excited about knowing more about the unknown ideas and mysteries of the world. How a star that is billions of kilometers away, affects almost all the activities that happen on our planet. The mysteries of the origin of our space and the galaxy are another interesting theme that always left us in awe.
As kids, we do not have the ability to attain a complex understanding of such things which keep on testing our thinking and imaginative abilities. But reading and exploring more about them as we grow, adds a lot to our experience and understanding.
There are a lot of such phenomena which keep on happening and some of them are really exciting as they open new doors of understanding and exploration for us. The most recent one was the ‘Moon Wobble’. When some days back a couple of newspaper reports highlighted this phenomenon, this was brought to our attention.
Moon wobbling basically means a cyclical shift in the moon’s orbit. It was first reported in the year 1728 and it has been happening every 18.6 years. The shifting of the moon’s orbit leads to a change in the gravitational pull of the moon, hence, affecting a lot of other related phenomena.
Source – Wavy.com
We might wonder that some orbital shifts happening thousands of kilometers away from us would not affect our lives in any way. But we would be wrong to assume this already in our minds. Moon is the natural satellite of the planet Earth, it gets its light from the Sun but that does not mean that it has no role to play in the solar system.
We know that the moon revolves around the earth once in a month. And its actual orbit is already tilted, being more precise in this matter, the moon’s orbital plane around the earth is at an approximate 5-degree incline towards the Earth’s orbital plane around the Sun. Due to this tilt, the path of the moon’s orbit fluctuates, completing a full cycle, resulting in the ‘Moon Wobble’.
So, if we now wonder about the impacts of this phenomena on Earth, the most explicit effect is the changes in the tides. Before understanding the effects on the tides, we must clearly understand what tides are and how they are caused.
Tides are basically long waves, which move across the oceans. They are caused by the gravitational pull exerted by the moon on the Earth. When the highest point reaches the coast, it is termed as the high tide and when the lowest point reaches the coast, it is termed as the low tide.
Source – The Sun
Now when the gravitational pull of the moon gets affected due to the shift in the orbit, it affects the formation of tides on the Earth. It has the capacity to suppress the high tides and elevate the low tides.
In one half of the 18.6-year cycle, the lower tides tend to get amplified and the higher tides tend to get suppressed. And in the other half, the situation flips. This tends to disturb the natural flow and processes of the tide formation.
According to studies, the lunar cycle is expected to change again in the 2030s, and that would result in floods across various parts of the globe. A statement explains this as: “When the Moon and Earth line up in specific ways with each other and the Sun, the resulting gravitational pull and the ocean’s corresponding response may leave city-dwellers coping with floods every day or two.
“Low-lying areas near sea level are increasingly at risk and suffering due to the increased flooding, and it will only get worse,” mentioned NASA administrator Bill Nelson. The world’s premium space research institute has already predicted the devastating impacts of this ‘Moon Wobble’.
Source – USA Today
Though this is totally a natural phenomenon, and we cannot actually do anything about it, the only pressing issue is climate change. Due to rising temperatures, glaciers are melting at a faster rate, and this would lead to a rise in the sea level. All this accompanied with the ‘Moon Wobble’, might lead to severe floods and we ought to prepare ourselves for the same.
Written by – Gargi Singh
Edited by – Aditi Agarwal
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