By Kevin Montant
Did Earth once have a second Moon and if so, what happened to it? Did it vanish into open space? Did it collide with another moon? Was Earth formed as a result of this dramatic collision?
Can Earth’s lost second satellite explain why our Moon’s far side looks so different from the one that constantly faces us? It’s time to examine yet another cosmic mystery.
Theories About Earth’s Second Moon
The idea that our planet once had a second Moon goes back far in time.
In 1846, French astronomer Frédéric Petit, director of the Toulouse Observatory announced that he had discovered a second moon in an elliptical orbit around Earth. His claim was soon dismissed by astronomers, but Petit’s moon became a plot point in Jules Verne’s 1870 science fiction novel Around the Moon.
Some years later, in 1898 Dr. Georg Waltemath, astronomer from Hamburg, Germany said that he had located Earth’s second moon as well as a system of tiny moons. His discovery has never been confirmed by the scientific community and his claims were rejected.
American astronomer William Henry Pickering (1858 –1938) studied the possibility of a second moon and suggested that the Moon itself had broken off from Earth.
Collision Between Two Of Earth’s Moons
If we skip forward to more modern times, we learn about an intriguing theory proposed by Erik Asphaug, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Martin Jutzi, at the University of Berne.
According to Asphaug and Jutzi, it is possible Earth did have another moon billions of years ago. These two moons would have co-existed in peaceful harmony for tens of millions of years, long enough for both moons to almost completely solidify.
However, eventually Earth’s gravity cause the two moons to migrate outward and when it happened they collided. The smaller moon would have been destroyed, its remnants coating half of the larger satellite…
This article (Cosmic Mystery – What Happened To Earth’s Second Moon?) was originally published on Message to Eagle and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.