Tidal Locking

I want to talk about the way in which we communicate ideas. Subjective opinions are often disguised as fact, here I’ve tried to do the reverse, and describe some objective celestial mechanics in a subtley emotive language, to anthropomorphise the earth’s relationship to the moon.

The pictures are kind of related, kind of not. How does that influence your reading?

All of the planets, and their moons, are spinning around themselves, at the same time as they orbit around each other.


A tidally locked body takes just as long to rotate around itself as it does around it’s partner.



The embrace of the lock is gradual. The gravity of the larger partner distorts the smaller in a slight bulge. This applies a torque, causing it to slow. Eventually, the original frequency is subsumed entirely.


Our own moon is tidally locked to Earth, always presenting the same face to us.
As the moon slowed, the dust of it’s surface would have been pulled into great tidal waves. It is estimated that these could have reached heights of hundreds of meters.


The moon is now quiescent, and locked in step. But it still exerts a strong tidal influence upon the waters of the earth, that holds it in it’s thrall.

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