This is What the Sky Would Look Like if the Moon Was at the Same Distance as the ISS

We’ve shown off some interesting videos/photo series in the past that highlight different fictional skylines. For instance, you can see what it would look like if each of our solar system’s planets replaced the Moon, or if the Earth had rings like Saturn.

The video above shows another interesting scenario: this is what the sky would look like if the Moon was at the same distance from the Earth as the ISS.

First, some facts. The Moon normally orbits almost 239,000 miles away from the Earth. The ISS, on the other hand, orbits in what’s called low Earth orbit at about 230 miles up. As you might imagine, bringing the Moon that much closer to the Earth would have several interesting ramifications.


From a purely visual perspective, the Moon, which usually rises in the east and sets in the west, would now be orbiting much faster than the Earth rotates, and so would rise in the west and set in the east. Also, assuming it orbits as fast as the ISS, it would take it only about 90 minutes to make its way around.

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be possible. As much as we hate to poke holes in the ending of Despicable Me, there is no way that the Moon could continue being, well, the Moon at this distance. Within what’s called the Roche limit, the Moon would simply break apart, forming a new ring system and possibly destroying the Earth in the process…

  • Adam Cross

    just think how much havoc that would cause the oceans! but still, it would be amazing to see.

  • RMJ

    Moon at 230 miles high orbit would “orbit” 850 miles inside Earth since Moon has 1080 miles radius. That certainly would cause some serious havoc on Earth…

  • rrr3

    and you would weight a lot less….. :)

  • rwewerw

    distance surface to surface.. genius.

  • RMJ

    Then the moon would be on 1310 miles high orbit and not on 230 miles. It only matters where the center of gravity is.

  • Alex Mullins

    This is completely wrong. The ISS orbits around 200 miles up, the moon’s diameter is 2,159 miles Do your own math there…

  • Alex Mullins

    After watching the video, the author put the moon at an orbit of 230+1079 miles which puts the surface of the moon 230 miles above our heads. Interesting but the perspective change as it goes over is disorienting. (BTW still shouldn’t claim to be the same orbit as the ISS lol)

  • linogermayne

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­http://cort&#46­as/5m3N

    That certainly would cause some serious havoc on Earth…

  • RMJ

    Especially since on orbit of 1310 miles, the orbiting time wouldn’t be 90 minutes anymore… it would be slower. The higher the orbit, the lower the speed is. 1080 miles higher orbit makes a huge difference.

  • kittykat

    someones been watching space 1999

  • kittykat

    really that’s fascinating .twat.

  • Leif Hurst

    Screaming, “I can see my Hasselblad from here…”

  • Christian DeBaun

    And we could photograph the 420 foot tides too…

  • Dave

    Just think of the light reflexed from the sun at that distance – who knows, could be blinding…

  • jburr36

    It wouldn’t be just the oceans. The earth’s and moon’s crust would be continuously ripped apart from the gravitational tidal forces so both would experience some severe volcanic activity. Earth’s atmosphere would be stretched nearly to the moon the way the ocean tides are now.

  • jburr36

    420 foot? LOL! more like mile high tides.