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  #1  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:20 PM
Stu Pidasso Stu Pidasso is offline
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Default A coincidence that bothers me

I've heard it described as a "stunning stellar coincidence" that the moon exactly covers the sun during a solar eclipse. The actual "coincidence" is that the sun, which is 400 times larger than the moon, just happens to be 400 times further away from the earth than the moon.

A fourth grader can point out that the shapes of continents on a world map fit together like puzzle pieces.
In the past this was dismissed as merely a fantastic coincidence. Then came the discovery of plate tectonics.

"Fantastic" or "stellar" coincidences bother me. It seems to me that when something looks to be a "fantastic" or "stellar" coincidence theres probably a correct explanation, not dependent on chance.

Stu
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:24 PM
eviljeff eviljeff is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

if you were to illustrate the coincidence that the sun is 400x the size of the moon and also 400x further away from Earth, how would you do it?
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2007, 09:28 PM
suzzer99 suzzer99 is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

Ok I guess I'll crosspost my reply here - before NT bans everyone involved.


I believe the current theory is that the moon formed when the early earth, and another large planetary object collided. A chunk flew off from the collision and became the moon. The rest conglomerated to form the earth. Also the leftover heat from this collision is what gives the earth it's molten core.

So it's hard to see how any pattern could exist if the moon is really just a random chunk of stuff that came out of a big collision. But who knows.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:29 PM
Stu Pidasso Stu Pidasso is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

[ QUOTE ]
if you were to illustrate the coincidence that the sun is 400x the size of the moon and also 400x further away from Earth, how would you do it?

[/ QUOTE ]

I would use MS PAINT.

Stu
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2007, 11:43 PM
ZeeJustin ZeeJustin is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
if you were to illustrate the coincidence that the sun is 400x the size of the moon and also 400x further away from Earth, how would you do it?

[/ QUOTE ]

I would use MS PAINT.

Stu

[/ QUOTE ]

Diorama using only edible parts obv. Candy coated solar system FTW.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2007, 11:48 PM
ZeeJustin ZeeJustin is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

Using wikipedia numbers I get that the sun is 389.17 times as far away as the moon. The sun is 400.67 times as big.

If they were significantly closer I would agree, but those numbers are far enough apart that it's just a coincidence and probably has no real implications.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2007, 11:51 PM
chezlaw chezlaw is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

[ QUOTE ]
Using wikipedia numbers I get that the sun is 389.17 times as far away as the moon. The sun is 400.67 times as big.

If they were significantly closer I would agree, but those numbers are far enough apart that it's just a coincidence and probably has no real implications.

[/ QUOTE ]
C'mon you can find some data much more significantly closer if you just keep looking. Must try harder.
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2007, 12:01 AM
ZeeJustin ZeeJustin is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Using wikipedia numbers I get that the sun is 389.17 times as far away as the moon. The sun is 400.67 times as big.

If they were significantly closer I would agree, but those numbers are far enough apart that it's just a coincidence and probably has no real implications.

[/ QUOTE ]
C'mon you can find some data much more significantly closer if you just keep looking. Must try harder.

[/ QUOTE ]

All the numbers have at least 6 decimal places. Unless the numbers are wrong, the answer can't be much closer than what I figured, unless I screwed up somewhere.
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2007, 12:13 AM
chezlaw chezlaw is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Using wikipedia numbers I get that the sun is 389.17 times as far away as the moon. The sun is 400.67 times as big.

If they were significantly closer I would agree, but those numbers are far enough apart that it's just a coincidence and probably has no real implications.

[/ QUOTE ]
C'mon you can find some data much more significantly closer if you just keep looking. Must try harder.

[/ QUOTE ]

All the numbers have at least 6 decimal places. Unless the numbers are wrong, the answer can't be much closer than what I figured, unless I screwed up somewhere.

[/ QUOTE ]
not the precision of the measurements but the quantity of them. Measure enough paramteres of enough objects and you'll find any plenty of 'significant' closeness.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2007, 12:13 AM
FortunaMaximus FortunaMaximus is offline
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Default Re: A coincidence that bothers me

Drift over time? At some point they must have been exact or will be.

With stellar/planetary sizes, I think you can cred it as an insignificant difference.

You wouldn't be able to reassemble the continents now without some serious magma help or silly putty anyway.
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