The Most Popular Idea about How the Moon Formed: Explained and Analyzed

Choose the idea you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 1, 2024 07:14
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate platform where your opinions matter! Are you ready to dive into one of the most intriguing enigmas of our universe? We've gathered the most popular theories about the Moon's formation, and now, it's your turn to explore, analyze, and vote for the one that resonates with you the most. From the captivating "Giant Impact Hypothesis" to the fascinating "Capture Theory," we have it all! But wait, there's more! If you believe there's a missing option or a lesser-known theory that deserves the spotlight, feel free to suggest it and let others join the debate. Unleash your inner astronomer, and let's embark on this cosmic journey to unveil the secrets behind the lunar formation!

What Is the Most Popular Idea about How the Moon Formed?

  1. 1
    77
    votes
    Giant Impact Hypothesis
    H.Seldon · Public domain
    This is the most widely accepted theory which suggests that the Moon was formed from debris left over after a Mars-sized object collided with the early Earth.
    The Giant Impact Hypothesis is a widely accepted scientific theory describing the formation of the Moon. According to this hypothesis, it is believed that the Moon was formed as a result of a catastrophic collision between a Mars-sized body called Theia and the young Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago.
    • Collision: The Moon was formed by a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body.
    • Theia: The name given to the hypothetical object that collided with Earth to form the Moon.
    • Impact Angle: The collision took place at an oblique angle, resulting in debris from both bodies being ejected into space.
    • Debris Accretion: The ejected debris eventually coalesced and formed a disk around Earth, which then accreted to form the Moon.
    • Moon's Composition: The Moon has a similar isotopic composition to Earth, indicative of a common origin.
  2. 2
    35
    votes

    Fission Hypothesis

    George Darwin
    This theory suggests that the Moon was once part of the Earth and was separated due to centrifugal force caused by the Earth's rapid rotation.
    The Fission Hypothesis suggests that the Moon was once part of the Earth and separated from it due to rapid spin.
    • Hypothesis Type: Formation hypothesis
    • Proposed By: George Darwin
    • Proposed Year: 1879
    • Explanation: The Moon was spun off from the rapidly rotating Earth due to centrifugal force.
    • Triggering Mechanism: The rapid spin of the Earth
  3. 3
    32
    votes

    Capture Hypothesis

    Michael Woolfson
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed elsewhere in the solar system and was later captured by Earth's gravity.
    The Capture Hypothesis suggests that the Moon was formed elsewhere in the solar system and was later captured by Earth's gravitational pull.
    • Formation: Moon formed elsewhere in the solar system
    • Capture: Moon was captured by Earth's gravitational pull
    • Origin: Moon originated from a different region of the solar system
    • Size: Moon is smaller than Earth
    • Composition: Moon has a similar composition to Earth's crust
  4. 4
    12
    votes

    Co-formation Hypothesis

    Robin M. Canup
    This theory suggests that the Moon and the Earth formed at the same time from the same protoplanetary disk.
    The Co-formation Hypothesis suggests that the Moon was formed from the same cloud of gas and dust as the Earth during the early stages of the solar system's formation. According to this hypothesis, a giant impactor, roughly the size of Mars, collided with the young Earth, causing the ejection of material into space. This material then coalesced to form the Moon.
    • Origin: Proposed in 2000 by Robin M. Canup
    • Formation: Suggests the Moon and Earth formed together
    • Giant Impact: Posits a collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object
    • Ejection of Material: Material from the impact was thrown into space
    • Coalescence: Material in space formed the Moon
  5. 5
    12
    votes
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed when a large object collided with the Earth, and the ejected material eventually formed the Moon.
    The Collisional Ejection Hypothesis suggests that the Moon was formed as a result of a collision between a Mars-sized body, often referred to as Theia, and the early Earth. This collision caused a significant amount of debris to be ejected into space, which eventually coalesced to form the Moon.
    • Time of Formation: Approximately 4.5 billion years ago
    • Collisional Event: The collision between Theia and the early Earth
    • Mass of Theia: About 10% of the Earth's mass
    • Debris Ejection: The collision ejected a large amount of debris into space
    • Orbital Dynamics: The ejected debris eventually formed a disk around the Earth, which later coalesced to form the Moon
  6. 6
    6
    votes
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed from volcanic activity on the early Earth, which created a large amount of debris that eventually formed the Moon.
  7. 7
    10
    votes

    Synestia Hypothesis

    Simon Lock and Sarah Stewart
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed from a "synestia," a doughnut-shaped object created by a high-energy impact between two objects.
    The Synestia Hypothesis proposed by Simon Lock and Sarah Stewart in 2018 suggests that the Moon formed from a rapidly spinning cloud of vaporized rock resulting from a catastrophic collision between Earth and a Mars-sized planetoid. This hypothesis challenges the previous popular idea of the Moon forming from a disk of debris resulting from a glancing impact with Earth.
    • Formation Process: Formation from a rapidly spinning cloud of vaporized rock
    • Collision: Catastrophic impact between Earth and a Mars-sized planetoid
    • Previous Hypothesis: Moon forming from a disk of debris
    • Rotation: Rapid rotation of the synestia
    • Morphology: Synesthetic structure with a central region and surrounding disk
  8. 8
    11
    votes
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed from pebble-sized objects that accreted together in the early solar system.
    The Pebble Accretion Hypothesis proposes that the Moon formed through the accretion of pebble-sized objects or planetesimals in the early solar system.
    • Formation Process: Accretion of pebble-sized objects or planetesimals
    • Accretion Method: Gradual accumulation of pebbles through mutual gravitational attraction
    • Protoplanetary Disk: Dust and gas disk surrounding the young Sun
    • Planetesimal Formation: Formation of larger objects from dust grains in the protoplanetary disk
    • Moon Formation: Accretion of pebbles around Earth forming a proto-Moon
  9. 9
    0
    votes
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed from a clump of material that became gravitationally unstable and collapsed into the Moon.
    The Gravitational Instability Hypothesis proposes that the Moon formed through the gravitational collapse of material from a rapidly rotating disk around the early Earth, which eventually led to the formation of a secondary body. This hypothesis suggests that the Moon's formation involved an initial disk of gas and dust around the Earth, which then fragmented under its own gravitational instability to form the Moon.
    • Hypothesis Type: Formation
    • Proposed by: George Darwin
    • Year: 1879
    • Formation Mechanism: Gravitational collapse of a rotating disk
    • Materials Involved: Gas and dust
  10. 10
    5
    votes
    This theory suggests that the Moon was formed from the solar wind sputtering material off the early Earth's surface.
    The Solar Wind Sputtering Hypothesis suggests that the Moon formed from the debris ejected into space when a large object, possibly a Mars-sized planet, collided with the Earth during the early formation of the solar system. According to this hypothesis, the intense solar wind during that time caused the molten material from the collision to be sputtered away, eventually coalescing and forming the Moon.
    • Hypothesis type: Formation hypothesis
    • Proposed year: 1988
    • Origin of Moon: Debris from collision with Earth
    • Mechanism: Sputtering of molten material by solar wind
    • Main driver: Intense solar wind

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Ranking factors for popular idea

  1. Scientific evidence
    The theory should be based on verifiable scientific observations and data, such as the composition, age, and structure of the Moon's surface and materials.
  2. Consistency with current understanding of planetary formation
    The theory should be consistent with our understanding of the solar system's formation and general planetary body formation processes.
  3. Dynamical considerations
    The theory should consider the dynamics and physics of the Moon's orbit, its interactions with the Earth and the Sun, and any changes that might have occurred over time.
  4. Comparisons with other celestial bodies
    Comparing the Moon's formation with the formation of other moons and planets can provide insights into the processes that could have occurred during the Moon's formation.
  5. Computer simulations
    A good theory should be testable through computer simulations that can recreate the proposed formation process and predict the observed characteristics of the Moon.
  6. Geophysical measurements
    Tools such as seismology, magnetism, and gravity measurements can help to constrain the Moon's internal structure and composition, providing further support for a particular formation theory.
  7. Geological records
    The history of the Moon's geologic evolution as identified through features such as impact basins, volcanic activity, and tectonics can also play a role in determining the plausibility of a particular formation theory.
  8. Multiple lines of evidence
    A strong formation theory will be supported by multiple lines of evidence, such as geochemical data, isotopic ratios, and mineralogy that are consistent with the proposed formation scenario.
  9. Simplicity and parsimony
    While not always a definitive factor, a more straightforward and plausible explanation that can account for the available data and observations is often considered preferable to a more complex and convoluted theory.
  10. Acceptance by the scientific community
    A strong formation theory will typically gain acceptance by the broader scientific community, as evidence accumulates and corroborates the proposed scenario.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular idea about how the Moon formed. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or idea is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 2141 views
  • 200 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each idea once every 24 hours. The rank of each idea is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most popular idea about how the moon formed

The question of how the Moon was formed has puzzled scientists for centuries. However, the most widely accepted theory is the Giant Impact Hypothesis, which states that a Mars-sized object collided with Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago. The impact caused debris to be ejected into space, which then coalesced to form the Moon. This theory is supported by the similarity in composition between the Moon and Earth's mantle, as well as the Moon's low iron content. While other theories have been proposed, the Giant Impact Hypothesis remains the most widely accepted explanation for the formation of our closest celestial neighbor.

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