what is your explanation for the solar eclipse coincidence?

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schopenhauer with a keyboard
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07 Dec 2016, 5:48 pm

if you weren't aware, the perfect solar eclipse is the result of the sun being both almost exactly 400x larger and further away than the moon.
this doesn't happen on any other planet in the solar system.

could this remarkable alignment be explained by darwinian means?
because the coincidence is that the perfect solar eclipses correlate with the planet with observers on it, maybe we are evolutionarily contingent upon them in some manner.
there's another coincidence in that we're at just the right time in history to see them too, earlier the moon was closer, and in the future it'll be too far (though life will probably be gone by then because i think it'll take a few hundred million years to be fair).
it's hard to see how it could be explained this way though because it doesn't directly affect our survival in any obvious way, but some possibilities are that it led to abstract thought in primitive tribes who's brains were primed for such a trigger, and maybe it helped lead to agriculture by allowing us to observe patterns and time in nature.
it could've even 'helped' lead to religiosity, as it's been seen throughout history as a sort of supernatural event. this is of course all very speculative.

the obvious other explanation is that it's the result of intelligent design, if not directly, by possibly having earth-like habitable systems being much more likely to produce such events being written into the fabric of the universe.
the nature of the designer whether it be a simulator or god or something is another question.
it's also worth noting that the phenomenon has been useful in the realm of science.

then there's of course the possibility of it all being down to random chance, but i don't usually subscribe to that when it's something so specified and seemingly significant like this with only one chance to get it right.



Last edited by schopenhauer with a keyboard on 07 Dec 2016, 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

techstepgenr8tion
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07 Dec 2016, 6:37 pm

There are a lot of trippy numerological things about the planets and solar system. The gentleman who put together the 'Secrets Hidden in Plain Sight' video on Youtube took a sequence in the later part of that video to talk about some of the ratios.

It's really tough to speculate on because it's so strange that almost anything guesses start defaulting toward astrology and things of that nature. There could be nothing to it or a lot to it, just that it seems like we hardly have an orientation to the world and universe at large that would help us make sense of that sort of thing.

It's very true though that the sun, moon, and the other visible five planets were critical in the formation of early religion. They didn't call them the Seven Elohim or name all the days of the week after them for nothing.


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07 Dec 2016, 7:16 pm

In art class in high school I overhead one guy explaining that to another guy.

"That CANT be a coincidence" said the first guy.

Never thought about it before over hearing that. You always take it for a granted that in the day time there is big light that dominates the sky, and at night there is another luminous object that dominates the night sky. And you take it for granted that they both appear to be about the same size, and never think about it much.

I did the math in my head ( I had been a planet geek since I was eight years old so I knew all of the stats).

"Lessee...the earth is 8000 miles wide, the moon is only 2000 miles wide, and the Sun is 800 thousand miles wide. The moon is a quarter millions from us, but the Sun is 100 million miles from us. That means that the sun is 400 times as wide as the moon,but...the Sun is also 400 times as far away as the moon. So... OMG! It cancels out. That are the near exactly the same apparent size! Not just kinda the same size, but the same size"

It did occur to me for a moment. that maybe God planned it that way. Maybe God is trying to coax humanity into space travel. Who knows?

I was never an evolution denying YEC, mind you- just saying that I was open the above notion.

Actually the Sun and the moon dont exactly precisely cancel out (one does look a hair bigger than the other).

They both effect tides. Moon slightly more so, but the sun effects it by a comparable amount. So the gravitational o of the two bodies on earth is comparable, but not equal.

Leaving metaphysics out of it for a moment even on strictly naturalistic terms it may not be "just a coincidence". The moon maybe necessary to keep the earths rotation stable and upright. Thus making life possible. Or atleast thats one theory. Therefore any life bearing planet might need to have an object like the moon as a cosmic gyroscope to keep it on track. We might be here because of the Moon.

The earth's moon is indeed much bigger relative to the parent planet than any moon around any other planet in the solar system that is still labeled a "planet".

Pluto got demoted to a dwarf planet, and its moon Charon is FAR bigger relative to Pluto than the Moon is to the earth.

But among the inner planets Mars is the only other one with moons, And its two moons are irregular over grown boulders only about the size of Manhatten.

The Gas giants tend to have dozens of moons each ranging in size from those of Mars up to bodies like Gandymede and Titan which are larger than our moon and are around the same size as the planet Mercury. But even those large moons are no where near as large relative to the planet as the moon is to earth (Gandymede is 3200 miles wide, but Jupiter is 88000 miles wide).



schopenhauer with a keyboard
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07 Dec 2016, 7:44 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Leaving metaphysics out of it for a moment even on strictly naturalistic terms it may not be "just a coincidence". The moon maybe necessary to keep the earths rotation stable and upright. Thus making life possible. Or atleast thats one theory. Therefore any life bearing planet might need to have an object like the moon as a cosmic gyroscope to keep it on track. We might be here because of the Moon.

The earth's moon is indeed much bigger relative to the parent planet than any moon around any other planet in the solar system that is still labeled a "planet".


yeah, that's what i was alluding to when i said that the universe may have been set up to where habitable planets were at least more likely to experience these more or less perfect solar eclipses.

the moon definitely has a lot of positive impacts in terms of habitability such as stabilizing the earth, causing tides, increasing the likelihood of plate tectonics which is in turn thought to be essential for complex life (and which may have been the result of the impact that's thought to have created the moon in fact), and probably some other factors too.

it'd still be a weird coincidence that situations like ours happened to produce such an event if you weren't going to postulate a designer to explain it.



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07 Dec 2016, 7:57 pm

Just to point out, that "perfect" arrangement is in flux and always has been. The moon is moving away from the Earth, slowly. A few cm per year. In 500 million years, the sun will no longer be eclipsed; the moon will merely transit the sun. Even now, because the Earth's and moon's orbits are elliptical some total, annular eclipses are "more total" than others.

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physic ... termediate

And for math geeks (love ya):
http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/earth/4Page28.pdf


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schopenhauer with a keyboard
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07 Dec 2016, 10:15 pm

Edenthiel wrote:
Just to point out, that "perfect" arrangement is in flux and always has been. The moon is moving away from the Earth, slowly. A few cm per year. In 500 million years, the sun will no longer be eclipsed; the moon will merely transit the sun. Even now, because the Earth's and moon's orbits are elliptical some total, annular eclipses are "more total" than others.

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physic ... termediate

And for math geeks (love ya):
http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/earth/4Page28.pdf


i mentioned that in the OP. that just adds to the coincidence really.



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07 Dec 2016, 10:56 pm

You've already spotted a more likely answer.

Quote:
maybe we are evolutionarily contingent upon them in some manner.


It's not completely out there to say that perhaps this particular arrangement of astronomical bodies, the earth's position relative to the sun, the moon's size relative to the earth etc, has a yet unknown, unidentified effect on the emergence and evolution of life on any given planet.

Those who ascribe it to intelligent design may be making the same kind of error as those behind the infamous "perfect banana" thesis, that says bananas are so perfect for human handling and consumption they must be designed by God. The truth of course is that humans have been selectively breeding the plant for thousands of years. The link is there, but the wrong conclusion is drawn.


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07 Dec 2016, 11:18 pm

Speaking of the moon in regard to life I was looking for an article on its distancing process because I was curious on how long it will take to move far enough away from the planet not to aid in sustaining life - apparently something on the order of 2 billion years. Another funny thing I noticed in the article; they're suggesting that the moon was created when a Mars-sized planet collided with earth, they suggested that happened 4.5 billion years ago. I knew the former but really hadn't considered the implications of the later too deeply:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-12311119

I've never been a big proponent of panspermia, apparently the Earth was extremely hot at that point so even if there had been life on the incoming planet it's doubtful that even microbes could have survived. Still, it would be in interesting link to flesh out. No doubt that's planets remnants might be almost indiscernible from endogenous Earth material at this point (unless someone's really interested in trying on the forensics of that) but it would be interesting to see just what kind of composition it had and what kinds of materials might not have arrived on this planet without that impact. It wouldn't shock me if it was an ice planet for all the water we've got.


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08 Dec 2016, 12:01 am

Mikah wrote:
You've already spotted a more likely answer.

Quote:
maybe we are evolutionarily contingent upon them in some manner.


It's not completely out there to say that perhaps this particular arrangement of astronomical bodies, the earth's position relative to the sun, the moon's size relative to the earth etc, has a yet unknown, unidentified effect on the emergence and evolution of life on any given planet.

Those who ascribe it to intelligent design may be making the same kind of error as those behind the infamous "perfect banana" thesis, that says bananas are so perfect for human handling and consumption they must be designed by God. The truth of course is that humans have been selectively breeding the plant for thousands of years. The link is there, but the wrong conclusion is drawn.


true, but if the relationship between planet, moon, and sun and their sizes which is conducive to life is also conducive to perfect solar eclipses you still face the problem of why did that kind of arrangement have to be the same one which leads to the spectacular phenomenon which holds both aesthetic and scientific value? (it allows scientists to study the corona and also proved einstein's theory of relativity in 1919 among other things).

that's why i prefer an explanation relevant to ourselves rather than habitable systems in general.
like i said though it's hard to come up with an explanation on evolutionary grounds, but i tried to put a few albeit vague ideas out there.



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08 Dec 2016, 6:31 am

Maybe, the problem is if you lean towards design, you have to ask "if that is designed... why don't other things appear to be? or of they were why weren't they designed better?". Have some lovely solar eclipses - thanks for the view Mr. G, but why did you make it so our bodies rot apart at the slightest hint of a problem. Why are some people's bodies pretty much written off from day one? An off day perhaps?


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08 Dec 2016, 6:41 am

The other possibility, again highly speculative but really a little bit of both arguments: If the universe was a hierarchical organism you'd see lots of evidence of design but perhaps not a lot of indication that it's a self-aware system. The redundancy of life and types of life as well as failures seems to rule out things like deliberate parsimony in evolution.


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08 Dec 2016, 7:07 am

Mikah wrote:
Maybe, the problem is if you lean towards design, you have to ask "if that is designed... why don't other things appear to be? or of they were why weren't they designed better?". Have some lovely solar eclipses - thanks for the view Mr. G, but why did you make it so our bodies rot apart at the slightest hint of a problem. Why are some people's bodies pretty much written off from day one? An off day perhaps?


yes i agree wholeheartedly, i wouldn't subscribe to that kind of 'intelligent' design.
a design that is somewhat plausible to me though on the other hand, is one of a simulator (i mean possibly a god but i doubt it) that creates the blueprint for the universe with conscious life and maybe some sort of goal in mind. (singularity? lol)
so we wouldn't be directly created, but the universe itself would be.
we (and habitable systems in general) are actually in a pretty privileged place when it comes to scientific discoverability and observability of the universe too, but that's another matter.

i'm just putting it out there as a possibility because i'm not closed minded either way and this issue has really made me think.



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08 Dec 2016, 7:33 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
The other possibility, again highly speculative but really a little bit of both arguments: If the universe was a hierarchical organism you'd see lots of evidence of design but perhaps not a lot of indication that it's a self-aware system. The redundancy of life and types of life as well as failures seems to rule out things like deliberate parsimony in evolution.


very interesting. haven't really considered this much. just when we thought we'd done away with teleology, it turns out the whole universe is embedded with it.
it'd go a long way in explaining the first replicatory molecule, but i guess chance already has that covered.
also i don't think the universe would be so messy and chaotic.. barely anywhere within it is habitable.
for all we know we're the only intelligent life in the universe, and stuff is exploding and colliding all over the place.



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08 Dec 2016, 9:05 am

Quite simply what is in the title: it's a coincidence.

The only reason that we ask this question is that this just happens to be what we see. This is the same kind of question as asking to explain the "coincidence" that there is just enough oxygen in the air for us to breathe.

There is no reason for the moon to be able to cause total solar eclipses and, as far as we know, there is no benefit to it being able to do so either.
Even if there was a benefit, this would only be a benefit to some creatures becouse the eclipses happen and the creature adapted to have a benefit from it, rather than the other way around.



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08 Dec 2016, 9:33 am

izzeme wrote:
Quite simply what is in the title: it's a coincidence.

The only reason that we ask this question is that this just happens to be what we see. This is the same kind of question as asking to explain the "coincidence" that there is just enough oxygen in the air for us to breathe.

There is no reason for the moon to be able to cause total solar eclipses and, as far as we know, there is no benefit to it being able to do so either.
Even if there was a benefit, this would only be a benefit to some creatures becouse the eclipses happen and the creature adapted to have a benefit from it, rather than the other way around.


"This is the same kind of question as asking to explain the "coincidence" that there is just enough oxygen in the air for us to breathe."

no it's not, unless you're presupposing that without solar eclipses we wouldn't be alive to ask the question, which would make it *not* a coincidence anymore, but another factor of our surroundings that we're contingent upon.

"Even if there was a benefit, this would only be a benefit to some creatures becouse the eclipses happen and the creature adapted to have a benefit from it, rather than the other way around."

yeah of course, i'm only factoring in humans here. as in intelligent observers.