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        A Glancing Blow: How the Earth Got Its Moon

        The moon and the Earth are locked in a predictable pattern. Scientists still debate how this lock-step pattern evolved.One longstanding hypothesis, called the Giant Impact Theory, says that the moon formed in a collision between the Earth and another planetary body. The theory explains certain aspects of the system, but it doesn’t explain why the moon orbits the Earth at an angle. Planetary scientist Sarah Stewart and her colleagues wanted to address this detail. Reporting in the journal Nature, the team says that at the time of impact, the Earth may have been tilted—sending the moon off into its current orbit.


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