The Origin of Tides: The Sun & The Moon

How much impact do The Sun and The Moon have on Earth’s tides?

Also, what would happen to the Earth’s tides if there were no moon? These are questions that are covered in this blog post about tides.

The Earth’s tides are results of the gravitational pull from the Sun and the Moon on Earth’s water. For starters, gravity plays an important role with both the Sun and the Moon’s tidal forces. Since the strength of gravity decreases with distance, the gravitational attraction decreases as you go from the side of the Earth facing the Moon to the side facing away from it. There are two tidal bulges as a result as the tidal force or “stretching force,” and these include one that faces the moon and one that is the opposite of the moon.

When comparing the tidal effect of the Sun to the tidal effect of the Moon, a misconception is that the Sun’s tidal force is drastically greater than the Moon’s tidal force on Earth. One may assume this is true because the Sun is more than a million times bigger in mass than the moon. However, this person would not be taking into account the fact that distance is also a factor for the strength of the tidal force. Because the sun is much farther away to Earth than the Moon, the Sun’s pull on the sides of Earth is actually small.

If there were no Moon, there would be a significant change in Earth’s tides. Scientists have estimated that without the moon, tides on Earth would be one-third of their current size. Moreover, low tides would be lower and high tides would be higher. I think that it is fascinating that the Moon plays such a significant role in our tides!

8 thoughts on “The Origin of Tides: The Sun & The Moon

  1. Thank you for your post. I think we are fortunate to have a solar system full of planets with moons to study the phenomena of tidal forces. I think it would be hard to study this effect in other solar systems because resolving the radii of tiny exomoons would be hard at great distances. We can’t hardly even resolve the radii exoplanets themselves if at all!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This blog post is very interesting! I really liked how you asked questions at the beginning of it to draw in the attention of the reader. Also, you did a great job of thoroughly answering the questions you ask in the beginning. I also think it is fascinating that the moon plays such a big role on the tides, and I had no clue that it did before reading this. I didn’t realize that the moon had such a big impact on the earth. It makes me think how crazy it is that our solar system just all happened to work out perfectly, and everything is in place to help other things function. One thing I wonder is, how much closer would the sun have to be to the earth in order to have a stronger tidal effect on the earth than the moon?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Maverick – very interesting post about tides. Its weird that you never think of the effect the sun has on tides when, in reality, they have a substantial affect on them. I’m glad that the moon is around for many reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved how you brought up common misconceptions, similar to how the book operates, and brought the readers attention to them. You made me think about other misconceptions that I might hold about the Sun and the Moon. I enjoyed learning in the homework about how math can demonstrate misconceptions and support new theories.

    Liked by 1 person

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