Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Magnetic Moon

Four varied LROC Wide Angle Camera (WAC) views of the same 5600 square kilometer (62 x 88 km) region of interest in Oceanus Procellarum where, from a visual standpoint, the northeast terminus of the Reiner Gamma albedo swirl seems to emerge from Marius Hills. Beginning soon after local sunrise, when long shadows exaggerate differences in elevation and subtle differences in surface reflectivity are still nearly invisible the animation slides through mid-morning and early and late afternoon lighting conditions. Under a high sun elevations fade and Reiner Gamma emerges instead, winding to a twisted knot 170 km southeast and beyond across 360 km of the Oceanus Procellarum surface, most without "topographic expression." Closely coinciding with one of the Moon's strongest magnetic anomalies, along with local magnetism, Reiner Gamma seems to share the superficial lack of a geographic component with the whole family of lunar albedo swirls [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

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