Mars is wiggling and wobbling as it spins, and astronomers have no idea why

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mars wobble mystery
Mars refuses to rotate on a straight axis, but astronomers don’t know why. Picture by NASA shows Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Why is Mars not rotating on a straight axis? The Red Planet is wiggling and wobbling as it spins, and astronomers have no idea why.

Like a toy top that teeters as it loses speed, the poles of Mars are wandering ever-so-slightly away from the planet’s axis of rotation, moving about 4 inches (10 centimeters) off-center every 200 days or so.

That makes Mars only the second known planet in the universe to exhibit this phenomenon with Earth being the first.

The Chandler wobble

This wobble — named for astronomer Seth Carlo Chandler, who discovered the phenomenon more than a century ago — is an effect seen in planets that aren’t perfectly round. On Earth, the wobble is much more pronounced: Our planet’s poles wander roughly 30 feet (9 m) from its axis of rotation, wobbling in a circular pattern that repeats every 433 days or so.

This wonky wobble has negligible effect on our planet, but still presents a puzzle. Scientists have calculated that the wobble should naturally die down within a century of its origin, but our planet’s current wobble has been going strong for much longer than that.

Something — perhaps a combination of pressure changes in the atmosphere and oceans, one 2001 study proposed — seems to be perpetually reigniting the wobble, though the exact mechanism is still unknown.

Mars puzzling wobble

The Mars wobble is just as puzzling. The authors of the new study detected the wobble using 18 years of data collected by three satellites orbiting the Red Planet: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor.

This small shift in the Martian poles should also resolve itself naturally, the team calculated, but currently appears to be going strong.

Devoid of oceans, Mars and its wobbly rotation may be governed by atmospheric pressure changes alone, but further study of our tipsy neighbor is required to know for sure.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. You’re better off staying home and reading your Bible than going to a so called church where they don’t teach what the Bible says. Here is a good source, ubm1.org . You can get the truth there.

  2. Read the book Worlds in Collision by Emmanuel Velikovsky. Written in 1950’s. Reviewed by Albert Einstein.

    Also, I’ll give you a mystery. We are not body, soul, and spirit as most claim. We are Spiritual Beings who have been put into this dimension, into physical bodies for a purpose. It was all designed and created by our Father in Heaven before the foundations of this world were even laid. At the last trump, in a twinkling of an eye, we will be changed back to those spiritual bodies from which we came.

    • Yep, in our spiritual bodies during The First Earth Age.

      When Jesus returns, after the false messiah, satan, the people that don’t have the Mark of the Beast in their foreheads, will be returning to their spiritual bodies. There is no sickness, pain, or misery. We won’t eat food as we know it. It will be spiritual sustenance. That was in an article I read.

    • 2nd reply to David + Rice:

      I know. I church hopped alot. Most churches these days do not remind me of the old school churches. They do not teach as I was taught.

      Shows how they have been infiltrated by perverts and false prophets. Or luke warm, make-up-your-own-Christianity —with false doctrine, garage band music, and nebulous sermons.

      I made my own Bible study room in my attic. I can think for myself, and use resources to verify truth myself.

      Take care.

      • The LORD told my wife, myself, and another friend to leave the church scene 30 years ago. So we obeyed.

    • 3rd reply to David + Rice:

      Good move. Me too. About 12 years ago. There was one decent city church. The muscle car guys would go, and coffee afterwards, we discussed our own topics. At least there was camaraderie there.

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