A new study reconstructs the relationship of the moon to our earth dating 1.4 billion years ago, long after the Sun was created.. That original day on Earth lasted just over 18 hours — that is not sun hours but the total hours of a day. Why did it change and can it change again? That incredibly is in the Moon’s hands.

Read more: The Moon makes everyday a little bit brighter

“As the moon moves away, the Earth is like a spinning figure skater who slows down as they stretch their arms out,” explains Stephen Meyers, professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of the study published this week

[June 4, 2018] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study describes a statistical tool that links astronomical theory to geological observation, called astrochronology (the time or age of the stars). It look backs on Earth’s geologic past, and reconstructs the history of the solar system so it can understand climate change as captured in geological formations like rocks.

How old is the Moon btw?

“One of our ambitions was to use astrochronology to tell time in the most distant past, and develop ancient geological time scales,” Meyers says. “We want to be able to study rocks that are billions of years old in a way that is comparable to how we study modern geologic processes.”


Earth’s movement in space though is influenced by the other astronomical bodies that exert other force on it, like other planets and the moon. All of which helps determine variations in Earth’s rotation and the wobble on its axis, and in the orbit Earth traces around the sun, known as Milankovitch cycles which determine where sunlight is distributed on Earth.

From the Milankovitch cycle to Chaos

Alas, the Milankovitch cycle theory can only do this Bin the million-year range and scientists like their consumer counterparts, they want to go further and deeper and to the billion year rang because they have so little knowledge of moon’s history and its influence on us.

That theory is called solar system chaos, and is the brainchild of the Universite de Sorbonne’s planetary dynamist – astronomer Jacques Laskar who wrote this phenomena in 1989. Well some physicts at JPL in Pasadena cracked that code based on carbon dating a 90 million-year-old rock formation and rom that postulated climate changes throughout the millenia.

The further back in the rock record these physicts have tried to go, the less reliable their conclusions have been, naturally but the team believes the Moon is an astounding 4.5 billion years old.

The JPL study complements two other recent studies that rely on the rock record and use Milankovitch cycles to better understand Earth’s history and behavior, while another research team in Arizona is working on confirming the orbital fluctuations of the earth’s rotation from nearly circular to more elliptical on a 405,000 year cycle.

So perhaps those using prime meridian house systems should start looking at those based on the elliptic.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (EAR-1151438).

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