the force on parts of a extended body in a non-uniform gravitational field due to residual of the gravitational attraction between the overall effect on the body and the expected effect on the point in question. Tidal forces are most notably in large moons orbiting near their primaries.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

130
votes
7answers
18k views

Does Earth really have two high-tide bulges on opposite sides?

The bit that makes sense – tidal forces My physics teacher explained that most tidal effect is caused by the Moon rotating around the Earth, and some also by the Sun. They said that in the Earth and ...
55
votes
4answers
11k views

Moon's pull causes tides on far side of Earth: why?

I have always wondered and once I even got it, but then completely forgot. I understand that gravity causes high and low tides in oceans, but why does it occur on the other side of Earth?
50
votes
8answers
14k views

Short of collision, can gravity itself kill you?

Imagine that you are falling into object with huge gravity (i.e. black hole) that does not have any atmosphere. The question is - before you hit the ground, can the gravity itself (which would be ...
45
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some location on Earth have only one tidal maximum per day instead of two?

Most places in the ocean have two high tides and two low tides per "day" (~25 hours). But I remember reading that some locations only have one of each per day. This answer has some great explanations ...
44
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is the Moon considered the major cause of tides, even though it is weaker than the Sun?

You have likely read in books that tides are mainly caused by the Moon. When the Moon is high in the sky, it pulls the water on the Earth upward and a high-tide happens. There is some similar effect ...
42
votes
8answers
8k views

Are we slightly lighter during the day and slightly heavier at night, owing to the force of the Sun's gravity?

Using $g = \frac{Gm}{r^2}$, the force on a point mass located at 1 AU from the Sun ($m = 2 \cdot 10^{30} \text{ kg}$) is about ~0.006 N/kg. Does that mean that, e.g., a 70 kg person is ~42g lighter ...
41
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there tides in the atmosphere?

Analogous to the tides of Earths oceans, do the Moon and Sun cause our atmosphere to bulge in what could be described as a low and high tide?
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does the Moon face Earth with the same side?

I know that the rotation period of the moon equals its revolution period. It's just so astonishing that these 2 values have such a small difference. I mean, what is the probability of these 2 values ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

How can the Moon have such a strong effect on the ocean?

The gravitational acceleration on Earth is approximately $ 10 \mathrm{m}/\mathrm{s}^2 $. Compared to this, the tidal effect of the Moon's gravity gives a local variation in the acceleration of ...
19
votes
3answers
5k views

How quickly was the Earth rotating 250 million years ago?

The Earth is slowing at a rate of $4.7\times10^{-4}$ miles per second every 100 years due to tidal forces of the moon. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_rotation ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

Are tidal power plants slowing down Earth's rotation?

Are tidal power plants slowing down Earth's rotation to the speed of the orbiting moon? (1 rotation per 28 cca days) Are they vice versa increasing the speed of moon orbiting by generating some ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

I was told that if the Moon had a retrograde orbit, tides would have a faster rhythm. Why is that?

Would this be because tidal deceleration causing the Earth to spin faster or are there other actions in play that I haven't considered? Would the Earth even spin faster because of the tidal ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Why Aren't Saturn's Rings Clumping into Moons?

While reading with my son about how a Mars-like planet collided with the early Earth that resulted in our current moon, it said the initial debris also formed a ring, but that ring ended up getting ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the length of the day increasing?

In Frontiers of Astronomy, Fred Hoyle advanced an idea from E.E.R.Holmberg that although the Earth's day was originally much shorter than it is now, and has lengthened owing to tidal friction, that ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

Why do we always see the same side of the Moon? [duplicate]

I am puzzled why we always see the same side of the Moon even though it is rotating around its own axis apart from revolving around the earth. Shouldn't this only be possible if the Moon is not ...
13
votes
3answers
7k views

Why does the moon drift away from earth?

I once saw on TV that the moon is slowly drifting away from the earth, something like an inch a year. In relation to that the day on earth what also increase in time. I wonder why is that?
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why don't lakes have tides?

There's a tidal effect that we can clearly observe in oceans, which is the effect of gravity from the Sun and the Moon. If gravity affects everything equally, why don't lakes have tides?
12
votes
2answers
377 views

Will Neil Armstrong's moon boot marks really last for thousands of years?

This question concerns the residual heat (if any) contained within the Earth's moon. At the time of the Apollo moon landings, it was widely reported that the boot marks left by the astronauts would ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Why can't one see tidal effects in a glass of water?

Why can't one see the tidal effect in a glass of water like in an ocean?
11
votes
2answers
488 views

How large can planets or moons appear?

In many artistic impressions or movies there are pictures or scenes where the sky is filled with an enormous moon (as seen from a planet) or vice versa. I wonder if there is an upper limit to the ...
11
votes
4answers
359 views

Is the lay explanation of the equivalence principle wrong?

The common explanation/trope for the equivalence principle always has something to do with you being inside an elevator or spaceship, and your supposed inability to differentiate, say, gravity from a ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Tidal Lock Radius in Habitable Zones

Much is made of finding exoplanets in habitable zones, locations with orbital semi-major axes permitting water in the liquid state. Habitability may be compromised if such bodies become tidally ...
10
votes
12answers
2k views

Is the distance between the sun and the earth increasing?

M = mass of the sun m = mass of the earth r = distance between the earth and the sun The sun is converting mass into energy by nuclear fusion. $F = \frac{GMm}{r^2} = \frac{mv^2}{r} \rightarrow r ...
10
votes
5answers
7k views

Does the moon affect the Earth's climate?

So, this morning I was talking to a friend about astronomical observations, and he told me that lately there has only been good weather when there was a full moon in the sky, which was a shame. I ...
10
votes
4answers
674 views

Which gets you first when you are falling into a black hole, the black hole singularity or the cosmic background radiation?

If you look up while you are falling into a black hole you see the universe blue shifted, that is, you see the universe moving quickly forward in time compared to your local time. Since this effect ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you tell just from its gravity whether the Moon is above or below you?

If you are on a place of Earth where the Moon is currently directly above or directly below you, you experience a slightly reduced gravitational acceleration because of Moon's gravity. This is what ...
8
votes
1answer
53 views

Measuring tides in a swimming pool

The tidal range of a perfectly fluid inertialess ocean on the Earth (taking into account lunar tides only) is approximately half a metre: this is the range between "high" and "low" points of an ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How long was a day at the creation of Earth?

Since the earth is slowing its rotation, and as far as I know, each day is 1 second longer every about 1.5 years, how long was an earth day near the formation of earth (4.5 billion years ago)? I ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

If the moon was twice as big but twice as far away, would there be any difference?

I'm just going to go ahead and steal this question question directly of Reddit since I have more trust in the answers I get on this site. So, if the moon was twice as big but also twice as far way, ...
7
votes
3answers
249 views

Is there any dynamical reason for the winter solstice to happen close to the perihelion?

When the winter solstice arrives, the angular momentum of the Earth, its orbital angular momentum and its radius vector with the orbital focus in the Sun are in the same plane. This happens quite ...
7
votes
3answers
714 views

Tidal force on far side

I have a question about tidal forces on the far side of a body experiencing gravitational attraction from another body. Let's assume we have two spherical bodies $A$ and $B$ whose centers are $D$ ...
7
votes
1answer
390 views

How to simulate a crashing wave? [closed]

I'd like to create a very rough animation of a wave crashing on a beach. I'm guessing it would have to be a particle simulator, where you code in the forces between the particles and then integrate ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does tidal energy come from?

Kind of an odd, random question that popped into my head. Tidal energy - earth's ocean movement, volcanism on some of Jupiter's moons, etc. - obviously comes from the gravitational interaction between ...
7
votes
2answers
334 views

Will an object falling into Earth's orbit start spinning?

Assume an object falls towards Earth (I've drawn a hyperbolic orbit, but this would apply to any orbit). The object starts at $A$, and at this point it is not rotating i.e. an observer on the object ...
6
votes
4answers
857 views

Where's earths death bulge, destroying everything in it's path?

I was watching a BBC documentary on space last night. It was talking about gravity, and it said that the reason we only ever see one side of the moon, is because the earths gravity is strong enough ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Event Horizon of Supermassive Black Holes

I'm going to ask/explain this as best I can; I'm sure I have some fundamentals wrong here. Spaghettification is a phenomenon which occurs only in stellar-mass black holes owing to the immense gravity ...
6
votes
2answers
458 views

Does a tidally locked planet have seasons?

Could a tidally locked planet have seasons? According to my understanding, a tidally locked planet rotates around itself exactly once per rotation around its sun. However, if the axis of rotation of ...
6
votes
1answer
418 views

Tidal force of Sun?

As I understand, satellites and the Moon orbiting Earth are in free fall. Isn't the same true for Earth orbiting the Sun? My question is then: How can the Sun's gravity affect tides? Aren't the ...
6
votes
1answer
214 views

Why doesn't space junk form a ring around Earth?

If ice and rock form rings around a planet like Saturn, why don't rings form around Earth from all of the broken satellites and other material around Earth, or will they eventually? I would expect at ...
6
votes
1answer
402 views

Tidal force when planets and smaller objects collide

There are lots of animations on the Web of planet collisions. In most, the planets maintain their (almost perfectly) spherical shape and their surface features right up to the point of impact. In ...
6
votes
0answers
424 views

Why is the orbital resonance of the Galilean moons stable?

It is well known that the orbits of Ganymede, Europa and Io are in a 4:2:1 resonance. Most online sources (including but not limited to Wikipedia) say that such an orbital resonance, along with the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Changes in planetary orbit?

Forgive a novice and her naive curiosity, but I was wondering about planetary orbit and the aging of planets. As a planet ages, does its transit around its sun/star decrease or increase in speed? ...
5
votes
3answers
266 views

Forces on objects orbiting a black hole?

Firstly, please excuse my elementary knowledge and lack of eloquence when writing about astrophysics. I am a dentist, who occasionally thinks about the how the universe works. I'm both fascinated and ...
5
votes
1answer
363 views

Determining Average Tidal Effects

Maximum tidal heights vary widely across the globe, from 16 m in the Bay of Fundy to mere centimeters elsewhere. These variations are due to coastline and shoreline differences. This makes it ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Curvature of spacetime and the equivalence principle

Assuming the Einstein equivalence principle, formulated as following: The outcome of any local non-gravitational experiment in a freely falling laboratory is independent of the velocity of the ...
4
votes
2answers
372 views

If the moon was rapid enough would it be able to orbit the earth from a close distance?

If the moon was close in orbit that it's surface was like 100 km away from the earth's surface. And it had a large enough angular velocity will it be able to hold orbit? If this was possible, is ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

Orbit in the vacuum

As the space is a vacuum and there is no friction in space, Can we assume that, if we place an object in gravity in exactly the right distance from a planet with gravity and in the right acceleration, ...
4
votes
2answers
313 views

Would a considerably big asteroid be disintegrated by the Earth's Roche limit?

If there was a big asteroid with a diameter of say 50km+ in a collision course with the Earth (not orbiting), would it disintegrate into smaller chunks due to the Earth's Roche limit, or the time it ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What would it be like if we had a planet very close to us?

My desktop background rotates through a bunch of space and nature scenes, and this one came up. What would be the effect on people walking around down here, if another earth was looming overhead ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

How far has a black hole to be in order for its tidal forces to disintegrate earth?

I don't know if this question can be answered to honest but I though I might try ask just in case someone can calculate that. What I need to know here is how strong should the tidal forces be to start ...