Bright spots on moon result of comet crashes: Study

New York, June 2 (IANS) Lunar swirls — wispy bright regions scattered on the Moon’s surface — were created by the numerous comets that crashed into the lunar surface over the past 100 million years, says a new study.

The researchers used computer models to simulate the dynamics of comet impacts on the lunar soil. The simulations suggest that such impacts can account for many of the features in the mysterious swirls.

“We think this makes a pretty strong case that the swirls represent remnants of cometary collisions,” said Peter Schultz, planetary geoscientist at Brown University in Rhode Island in the US.

Lunar swirls have been the source of debate for years. The twisting, swirling streaks of bright soil stretch, in some cases, for thousands of miles across the lunar surface.

Most are found on the unseen far side of the Moon, but one famous swirl called Reiner Gamma can be seen by telescope on the southwestern corner of the moon’s near side.

Comets carry their own gaseous atmosphere called a coma.

Schultz thought that when small comets slam into the Moon’s surface — as they occasionally do — the coma may scour away loose soil from the surface, producing the bright swirls.

The simulations showed that the scoured area would stretch for perhaps thousands of kilometres from the impact point, consistent with the swirling streaks that extend across the Moon’s surface.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at this using modern computational techniques,” Schultz said.

“Everything we see in simulations of comet impacts is consistent with the swirls as we see them on the Moon,” Schultz said.

The study was published in the journal Icarus.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of www.mangalorean.com or any employee thereof. www.mangalorean.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of www.mangalorean.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at  info@mangalorean.com. Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here