An image taken through a smartphone during one of our sessions

Often in our nightly shows we look at our nearest neighbour the Moon. And we take it so much for granted. Questions as to how it formed – what effect it has on us and what would happen it we didn’t have a Moon come up. I will look at the last two questions today.

It is by far the brightest and largest object in our night sky. Out Moon makes Earth a more livable planet by moderating our home planet’s wobble on its axis, leading to a relatively stable climate.

It is also responsible for the tides, creating a rhythm that has guided humans for thousands of years.

Without a Moon we would have less difference between high and low tides, shorter days and a more extreme climate.

Half the tides

Lunar gravitation is greater on the side of Earth facing the Moon than it is on the centre of our planet. And its gravitational attraction on the centre of the Earth is stronger than on the opposite side of our planet. This makes ocean water bulge outward on either side of the planet.

Currently the Earth’s axial tilt is 23.4°, but it fluctuates between the two angles in the illustration in a 41,000-year period. Without the Moon it would tilt much more. (Illustration: NASA/Myksid/Wikimedia Creative Commons)
An artist’s concept of the Moon shortly after its formation shows a mag­ma ocean and a first rocky crust. This young Moon might have hosted a magnetic field that rivaled Earth’s.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center