The Moon has kept the Earth at a stable orbital tilt for millions of years, preventing dramatic climate cycles and keeping the Earth habitable. But do we fully understand how it formed? Today’s bite provides clues as to how we ended up with our trusted companion.
Astronomers hope to get lucky and discover the first evidence of plate tectonics on a planet besides Earth: remnants of continental crust in the rocky material that pollutes some white dwarfs.
It sounds convoluted: today’s astrobite observed a lunar eclipse in order to learn about the Earth’s atmosphere, to understand more about how to observe exoplanets. How and why do they do this? Read on…
This paper asks what the biosphere of the Earth will look like billions of years from now, when the era of life is ending. What biosignatures might we detect from a dying planet?
This paper considers the possibility that Earth could suffer a runaway or moist greenhouse effect, which probably turned Venus into a hellish wasteland long ago.
It took homo sapiens hundreds of thousands of years on the planet to understand a fundamental, simple-sounding, question: how old is the Earth? The answer to this question has gone down in the history books as one of the most important geophysical and astrophysical discoveries of the past century. This paper, by Clair Patterson in 1956, is credited with providing the first accurate, measured age of the Earth.