News

Did early Earth spin on its side?

1 November 2016 Astronomy Now

New theoretical modelling of the ancient history of the Earth and the Moon suggests that the giant collision that spawned our natural satellite may have left Earth spinning very fast, and with its spin axis highly tilted. The simulations give new insight into the question of whether planets with big moons are more likely to have moderate climates and life.

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NOAA satellite shows Moon crossing face of Earth for second time in a year

12 July 2016 Astronomy Now

On 5 July 2016, the Moon passed between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s DSCOVR satellite and Earth. NASA’s EPIC camera aboard DSCOVR snapped these images over a period of about four hours. In this set, the far side of the Moon, which is never seen from Earth, passes by. The last time EPIC captured this event was 16-17 July 2015.

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Climate change creates wobbles in Earth’s spin axis

11 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, currently drifting toward the British Isles at 17cm per year. These wobbles don’t affect our daily life, but they must be taken into account to get accurate results from GPS, satellites and observatories on the ground.