Separated at Birth

A glowing orb, reflecting distant light,

You calm and soothe our planet’s ebb and flow;

But how much can we say we truly know,

When our eyes meet across the darkest night.


We theorised an impact of great might,

From whose debris you burst and sought to grow;

A glowing orb, reflecting distant light,

You calm and soothe our planet’s ebb and flow.


But something pulls and does not quite feel right.

Instead of splitting with a glancing blow,

We shared a universal embryo;

Our histories entwined since our birth rite,

A glowing orb, reflecting distant light.


An artist’s impression of a giant impact collision (Photo Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech).

This is a Rondel, inspired by recent research which proposes a new explanation for how our Moon was formed.

The leading theory for the formation of our Moon is the giant impact hypothesis, in which the Moon is believed to have formed out of the debris left over from a collision approximately 4.5 billion years ago between Earth and a Mars-size astronomical body, commonly called Theia. It is believed that the collision between Earth and Theia threw molten rock and metal into orbit around the Earth, which eventually collided together to create the Moon. However, this theory cannot fully explain the Moon’s composition, and in particular its chemical similarity with the Earth.

A new theory has been proposed which can potentially solve these issues, by successfully matching the Moon’s composition. This new theory proposes that the Moon was formed out of a synestia, a theoretical phenomenon that occurs when two planet-sized objects collide in outer space. This massive collision creates a volatile cloud of debris, which eventually forms a donut-shaped mass, before rapidly cooling and collapsing back into a central mass which then goes on to becomes a planet. Researchers believe that a synestia was responsible for creating our Earth-Moon system, with the bulk of the material settling into a body that became our Earth, whilst a smaller mass of the material gathered vaporized rock on its surface and went on to form our Moon. This theory would explain why the Moon is very similar to the Earth in terms of its chemical composition. Another advantage of this model is that there are a variety of ways in which a suitable synestia can be formed, and unlike the current giant impact theory it isn’t reliant on a very specific collision under very strict conditions.


An audio version of this poem can be heard here.

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