Why is The Earth Moving Away From The Sun?
Posted on August 18, 2011
By measuring the distance between the Sun and the Earth scientists have noticed that we are slowly moving away from the sun (15 cm per year) similar in the way the Moon is moving away from us. But Why?
“One idea is that the Sun is losing enough mass, via fusion and the solar wind, to gradually be losing its gravitational grip (see Astronomical unit may need to be redefined). Other possible explanations include a change in the gravitational constant G, the effects of cosmic expansion, and even the influence of dark matter. None have proved satisfactory.
But Takaho Miura of Hirosaki University in Japan and three colleagues think they have the answer. In an article submitted to the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, they argue that the sun and Earth are literally pushing each other away due to their tidal interaction.
It’s the same process that’s gradually driving the moon’s orbit outward: Tides raised by the moon in our oceans are gradually transferring Earth’s rotational energy to lunar motion. As a consequence, each year the moon’s orbit expands by about 4 cm and Earth’s rotation slows by 0.000017 second.
Likewise, Miura’s team assumes that our planet’s mass is raising a tiny but sustained tidal bulge in the sun. They calculate that, thanks to Earth, the sun’s rotation rate is slowing by 3 milliseconds per century (0.00003 second per year). According to their explanation, the distance between the Earth and sun is growing because the sun is losing its angular momentum.”
(Via New Scientist)