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Mysterious 'Lunar Swirls' Point to Moon's Volcanic, Magnetic Past
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Mysterious 'Lunar Swirls' Point to Moon's Volcanic, Magnetic Past
Unique patterns, visible from backyard telescopes, may be produced by strongly magnetized lava

Date:
September 6, 2018
Source:
Rutgers University New Jersey
Summary:
The mystery behind lunar swirls, one of the solar system's most beautiful optical anomalies, may finally be solved. The solution hints at the dynamism of the moon's ancient past as a place with volcanic activity and an internally generated magnetic field. It also challenges our picture of the moon's existing geology.

[Image: 180906123347_1_540x360.jpg]
This is an image of the Reiner Gamma lunar swirl from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Credit: NASA LRO WAC science team

 The mystery behind lunar swirls, one of the solar system's most beautiful optical anomalies, may finally be solved thanks to a joint Rutgers University and University of California Berkeley study. The solution hints at the dynamism of the moon's ancient past as a place with volcanic activity and an internally generated magnetic field. It also challenges our picture of the moon's existing geology. Lunar swirls resemble bright, snaky clouds painted on the moon's dark surface.

The most famous, called Reiner Gamma, is about 40 miles long and popular with backyard astronomers. Most lunar swirls share their locations with powerful, localized magnetic fields. The bright-and-dark patterns may result when those magnetic fields deflect particles from the solar wind and cause some parts of the lunar surface to weather more slowly. 

"But the cause of those magnetic fields, and thus of the swirls themselves, had long been a mystery," said Sonia Tikoo, coauthor of the study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research -- Planets and an assistant professor in Rutgers University-New Brunswick's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. "To solve it, we had to find out what kind of geological feature could produce these magnetic fields -- and why their magnetism is so powerful."

Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20...123347.htm
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#2
Nice :D 

I never really think of the Moon as a 'volcanic' world - although, when you consider some of the places that once had volcanic activity (such as Mars), I suppose it could be!
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