I was wondering as to why there are two tidal bulges instead of just one on Earth, and then I saw this diagram:enter image description here

The oval shape that the Earth's water is transformed into in this image reminded me of how objects are visibly stretched when they get very close to a black hole.

So this made me think, is the moon 'sphaghettifying' the earth ever so slightly, like a black hole does, which manifests itself as tidal bulges on Earth?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Yes, the tide is a tiny spaghettification in which the ellipsoid - the surface of the ocean - is stretched to another ellipsoid with semi-axes different by one meter or so. This is no accident. While your way of describing the analogy sounds playful, the opposite way to describe the equivalence is normal. Physicists normally say that the process that tears object apart near the black hole singularity are tidal forces - something whose origin is basically identical to the tides from the Moon on Earth. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 12:41
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Indeed, it's probably more accurate to think of spaghettification as "very strong tides" than tides as "very weak spaghettification." $\endgroup$
    – user_35
    May 30, 2016 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


The answer to this problem is no, the moon is not spagging the earth or tides. Research approximately a quarter of a century ago showed that the moon did not have the power to "lift" a high tide. Instead the moons gravity was drawing water laterally from around the world so that it "bunches up" on the side closest to the moon. The other bulge on the other side of the world is there because the moon does not have the power to draw it around the "blocking" earth.

Spagging near black holes occurs when one side experiences greater forces therefore greater acceleration than the other side. You cannot expect me to believe that the moon pulls the earth in the middle towards it, leaving the water on the other side less affected because it is farther.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you provide references to the 'research' you mention in the 2nd sentence? $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Mar 5, 2018 at 10:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.