New study reveals the Moon is actually shaped like a lemon
Friday, August 1, 2014, 7:31 PM - That bright, white sphere we see in the sky at night is actually shaped more like a lemon, according to a study published in the journal Nature earlier this week.
Research out of the University of California suggests the Moon actually looks more like a 'squashed sphere' that bulges at the side and is flat and the top and the bottom. One of the contributors says it resembles "a lemon with an equatorial bulge."
For the study laser technology was used to calculate the Moon's topography with unprecedented detail, allowing researchers to determine the true shape of the Moon.
While the Earth also has an equatorial bulge and flat top and bottom, the lump only appears on one side on the Moon.
The study says that orbital forces between the Earth and the Moon may have generated friction beneath the lunar surface when the Moon was much younger, causing the oval shape.
The forces weakened as the Moon's orbit increased, but the distorted shape remained.
The Earth can attribute its less-than-circular form to a variety of factors.
Scientists believe that our planet's shape changes periodically due to shifts in plate tectonics, meteor crashes and the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, among other things.