A new space mystery seems to have been solved after scientists have postulated that icy comet collisions led to strange moon swirls, new study finds. The findings of the new research were published in the journal Icarus and researchers hope the discovery will serve as a basis for future investigations.
Just when people were beginning to think that there isn’t much left to say about the Moon and its activity, space experts launch a new hypothesis related to the occurrence of its specific bright swirls. Based on their declarations, it was icy comet collisions that led to the appearance of the strange moon swirls.
The study was conducted by Peter Schultz of the Brown University and Megan Bruck-Syal from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. The two scientists have subjected all moon images to a close analyses to get detailed data about the mile-long swirls that may be noticed on the surface of the planet.
They have, thus, discovered that the moon swirls might have been caused by powerful collisions with icy comets. These strange features are somewhat different than the popular crater impacts we have seen so far; therefore experts believe these have a different origin.
Thanks to the computer-generated simulations, Schultz and Syal managed to reproduce the trajectory and the impact of comets on the surface of the moon. The strangely bright swirls have formed when the gas halo surrounding the comet rubbed the surface of the moon upon the impact. The gas halo is made out of ice and coma and, therefore, it has the natural ability of changing rock surfaces.
Although the hypothesis has not been fully proved, there are many chances that the sinuous shapes noticeable within the swirls might have originated as a result of the gaseous coma hitting the planet. The thesis also explains the unusual magnetic levels registered in the areas near the moon swirls.
The magnetic field was first noticed in 1970 and has continued to puzzle space experts ever since. Thanks to the recent findings, scientists believe colliding comets melted iron-rich particles on the surface, thus, making them vulnerable to the surrounding magnetic field.
Moreover, the magnetic field of the comet would interfere on the surface’s own magnetic field. The two forces would combine and magnetic anomalies as the ones registered in the 1970s would appear.
The study and its findings will be accurately presented in the journal Icarus.
Image Source: Sott.net