Imagine the Earth is sucked into a wormhole powerful enough to pull it out of it's current orbit. the ones who created the wormhole wanted to move earth to protect it however didn't want their actions/existence known to an underdeveloped earth.

Assuming technological awareness on earth is today (2014), the moon was pulled though with earth and ignoring lost connect with probes (space stations/satellites were also pulled though) what kind of effects would be seen by those on earth.

  • $\begingroup$ For real-world SciFi example of this, see Francis Carsac's "The flight of Earth" (they used the engines, not the wormhole) $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 15 '14 at 2:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also, the question is very hard to answer if you don't specify WHERE it will be pulled to. Is it into orbit around sun-like star? Vacuum of space? etc.... $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 15 '14 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DVK the best i can say is that the solar system earth ends up in would have other earth-like planets. is more information needed than that? $\endgroup$ – Memor-X Oct 15 '14 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ ideally, yes. Would the planet be placed in a stable orbit? Would it have similar amount of radiated energy from the star as now? Similar spectrum? gravitational interference from "other earth like planets" you mentioned? $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 15 '14 at 3:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Reminds me of Invader Zim’s Planet Jackers. Your aliens would have to build a Dyson sphere around the inner solar system (which they have meticulously replicated) and display the stellar constellations on its inside. $\endgroup$ – Wrzlprmft Oct 15 '14 at 6:55

Just to start...

Changed stellar patterns (new constellations, etc), different planets visible, possibly differences in the star they are orbiting, unless it is the same size/distance/class. Earth would figure out really dang quickly that it had been relocated.

We have our skies and our solar system pretty well mapped out. If that changed, we'd notice in a big hurry. Even if the new system was unrealistically similar to the Sol system, we'd notice that planets weren't where they were supposed to be, and weren't the same planets, probably within a day.

And travelling through a wormhole is bound to give us some really weird signals, so there's that as well.

In short, modern humanity would notice. Heck, the ancient Chinese and Mayan civilizations would notice...even the Druids who built Stonehenge would notice.

EDIT: Thought of another few things...

Unless we were dropped into the same 'spot' in our orbit around this new star, it would make our current season go all wonky (swap from winter to fall rather abruptly). It'd take time for the temperature to reflect the change, but it would definitely be noticeable and might take a little while to re-stabilize. And unless the race that dropped us into our new orbit was exceedingly precise about it, our weather would see some changes if our seasons ended up altered. If we had a more or less eccentric orbit, or if our axial tilt relative to the new star was different.

  • $\begingroup$ The sun would jump from one spot to another but the season would take some time to catch up (it already lags behind the sun's position (shortest day is the start of winter)) $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Oct 15 '14 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that exactly. It wouldn't be an abrupt change, but it would still be noticable $\endgroup$ – guildsbounty Oct 15 '14 at 14:01

We watch the sun pretty closely. Even assuming the new star had exactly the same size, mass, luminosity, temperature, position, and color (all rather unlikely) surely it's spectrum, sunspot pattern, and any observed solar flares (or other stellar weather phenomenon) would be immediately noticed as being different.

Speaking of solar weather, there would likely be an abrupt (and unexpected) change in solar wind as well, which would deform the Earth's magnetic field in unexpected ways, messing up any instruments that depend on measuring its field strength. Depending on how drastic the effect is, the effect may be relatively weak on Earth, but magnetometers in space will certainly notice.

And speaking of satellites, bear in mind that, even ruling out space telescopes like Hubble, at least some of them depend on looking at the stars for navigational purposes, so they would probably suddenly get very confused about their orientation, and possibly go into uncontrollable spins, trying to find stars that no longer exist. Without knowing which satellites depend on this type of system, and how they would react, it's hard to say exactly what would go wrong on Earth. But it could potentially be very bad (e.g. loss of systems like GPS and global communications).

And this doesn't even count the obvious sudden changes in stars and planets that any astronomer on the night side of the planet would immediately notice.


The moon would be a pretty big clue. It wouldn't be there.

The moon isn't really captured by the Earth, they are both co-planets in the same orbit. At no point is the gravitational force exerted by the Earth on the Moon stronger than that of the Sun.

So unless this phenomenon was placed to take the moon along too, it would be missing and apparent from the start.

EDIT: I got this line of reasoning from the 1962 essay "Just Mooning Around" by Isaac Asimov where he calculates the "true moon band" from the Roche Limit (where tides break up the moon) to where Solar gravity dominates to be from 9600 - 29,000 miles. Yet the source for 'zone of influence' comes up with a range of some 500,000 miles.

So I still hold that the Earths' influence on the Moon gravitationally is particularly weak and more likely to be disturbed by your average planet snatching device unless great care was taken to avoid it.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Erm, the Moon is within Earth's sphere of influence. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 13 '14 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ Isaac Asimov must have calculated it wrong in that nonfiction article in the 60s, then, because that was the climactic point of the article. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Nov 13 '14 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ Can you give a link to the article? Perhaps I was wrong. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 13 '14 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ Well your link sure seems to confirm you are correct. I will try and find it if I can $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Nov 13 '14 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ From the question: "Assuming [...] the moon was pulled though with earth". $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 13 '14 at 16:51

Smart aliens) no change other than a change in constellations.

Dumb aliens) gravitational effects of moving the planet could result in more volcanic activity. This might be at the start where the Earth is removed from its current orbit or at the end when it is placed around a new star and its gravity well now interacts with a new set of planets. With no moon, tidal forces are much less. Many of the animals that live in the intertidal zone will die as the intertidal zone shrinks or disappears. Without the tidal mixing, we might lose some oceanic currents?? Animals (like turtles) that depend on finding their way back to a natal spawning area might be in trouble. Life would go on, but it would be a mess for a while.

Super dumb aliens) The orbit of the earth is changed as it settles into the new solar system. We now get too close to the sun in summer and too far away in winter. All life dies, and the aliens can mine the planet for its minerals. Better luck next time, or maybe that was the plan from the start.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.