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(Astronomy) Moon: The Best Time for Moon Viewing

 
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:02 pm    Post subject: (Astronomy) Moon: The Best Time for Moon Viewing Reply with quote






The Best Time for Moon Viewing
Joe Rao
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
SPACE.com
Fri Jan 6, 10:00 AM ET

If you have just received a telescope as a holiday gift or resolved to pull the old one out of the closet in 2006, perhaps your first target will be our nearest neighbor in space: the Moon. It's a great target that offers endless opportunities even for experienced skywatchers.

But when is the best time to observe the Moon with a telescope?

Many people might assume it is when the Moon at full phase, but that's probably the worst time to look at it. When the Moon is full it tends to be dazzlingly bright as well as flat and one-dimensional in appearance.

In contrast, the interval when the Moon is at or just past First Quarter phase, or at or just before Last Quarter phase, is when we get the best views of the lunar landscape right along the sunrise-sunset line or terminator.

The terminator can also be defined as that variable line between the illuminated portion and the part of the Moon in shadow. Along with the fact that a half Moon offers more viewing comfort to the eye as opposed to a full Moon, using a telescope with just small optical power (magnifications of 20 to 40x), or even with good binoculars, we can then see a wealth of detail on its surface. Around those times when the Moon is half-lit or gibbous phase, those features lying close to the terminator stand out in sharp, clear relief.

The Moon arrives at first quarter phase on Friday, Jan. 6 at 18:56 GMT/1:56 p.m. EST. That will be the moment when its disk is exactly 50 percent illuminated.

Lunar mountains will be visible as the Sun lights them from the right. How does it brightness compare now with Full? Most would probably think it's half as bright, but in reality astronomers tell us that the first quarter Moon is only 1/11th as bright as full. This is due to the fact that, a half Moon is heavily shadowed, even on its illuminated half. And believe or not, it isn't until just 2.4 days before full that the Moon actually becomes half as bright as full!

In contrast to a half Moon, a Full Moon is almost completely illuminated, especially right around its center; the Sun shines straight down even into all the microscopic crevices and except for perhaps around its immediate edges, you will find no visible shadows at all.

As you watch the waxing Moon this week, note that it will pass north of Mars on the evening of January 8. And during the night of January 9 it will appear to cross in front of parts of the Pleiades star cluster for viewers in North America and Northern South America (see: http://www.space.com/spacewatc.....t_sky.html).

Finally, have you ever noticed that when artists portray the Moon, they invariably seem to show it as either a slender crescent or Full? Half moons are shown far less frequently, while gibbous moons are rarely depicted at all. The word gibbous is derived from the Latin word "gibbus" meaning, "hump." An unusual word to be sure, but in describing the Moon between half and Full, it's the correct term.

Yet interestingly, the gibbous moon is the most-seen phase, lunar occurring for the half month between first and last quarter (although to many it looks full for two or even three nights around the time of full Moon). Because it is in the sky for more than half the night we're more apt to see the gibbous Moon. In fact, it is even visible during the daytime hours, as will be the case during this upcoming week in mid or late afternoon. In contrast, the oft-pictured crescent Moon is visible only during the early evening or early morning hours, and sometimes only briefly.

Skywatcher's Guide to the Moon The Disappearing Moon: Why and Where it Hides Moon Mechanics: What Really Makes Our World Go 'Round Reading Weather in the Sun, Moon and Stars Sky Calendar & Moon Phases

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

Visit SPACE.com for more space-related news including videos, launch coverage and interactive experiences. Explore our huge collection of Image Galleries, view our Image of the Day and Amazing Images. Follow the latest developments in the search for life in our universe in our SETI: Search for Life section. Join the community, sign up for our free daily email newsletter, listen to our Podcasts, and check out our RSS feeds today!

*************************************************************
Related Lessons (Elementary Level)


http://www.sciencenetlinks.com.....;DocID=426

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Questions to explore further this topic:

A view of the moon from the earth

http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bi.....nTopo.evif
http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/vphase.html

What is the moon?

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....nfact.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
http://www.enchantedlearning.c.....nomy/moon/

Phases of the moon

http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dol.....Phase.html
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/moon_phases.html
http://www.enchantedlearning.c.....ases.shtml

A lunation is a lunar month, during which time the Moon completely circles the Earth in its orbit (movie)

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/graphics/Moon_movie.gif

360-degree panoramic views of the moon from the Apollo missions

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/t.....plore.html

Features of the surface of the moon

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server?sh.....rmat=print
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoo.....rface.html
http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/ast.....rface.html
http://www.astro.washington.ed.....artop.html

The Lunar Atlas

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/cla/

Lunar Exploration History

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....eline.html

Missions to the Moon

Apollo 11
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....1info.html

Apollo 12
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....2info.html

Apollo 14
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....4info.html

Apollo 15
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....5info.html

Apollo 16
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....6info.html

Apollo 17
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/pla.....7info.html

Clementine
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1994-004A

Galileo
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1989-084B

Luna 3
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1959-008A

Lunar Orbiter 1
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1966-073A

Lunar Orbiter 2
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1966-100A

Lunar Orbiter 3
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1967-008A

Lunar Orbiter 4
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1967-041A

Lunar Orbiter 5
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1967-075A

Ranger 7
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1964-041A

Ranger 8
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1965-010A

Ranger 9
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1965-023A

Surveyor 5
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1967-084A

Surveyor 7
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/dat.....=1968-001A

Images of the moon from NASA

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/img.....nails.html

Why the moon looks big at the horizon
and smaller when higher up


http://facstaff.uww.edu/mccreadd/

What is a lunar eclipse?

http://www.dustbunny.com/afk/s.....areclipse/
http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/LEprimer.html

Voices of the astronauts that have landed on the moon

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tothemoon/hear.html

Apollo Expeditions to the Moon

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/.....cover.html

Where did the moon come from?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/t.....igins.html

Origin of the Moon (Advanced Online Book)

http://ads.harvard.edu/books/ormo/

GAMES

http://www.cbc.ca/kids/games/matrixmoonmayhem/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/t.....zlers.html
http://www.kidsdomain.com/games/space.html


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:02 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Full Moon Names for 2006 Reply with quote

Full Moon Names for 2006
Joe Rao
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
SPACE.com
Fri Jan 13, 12:00 PM ET

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.

There were some variations in the Moon names, but in general the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior.


European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names. Since the lunar (“synodic”) month is roughly 29.5 days in length on average, the dates of the full Moon shift from year to year.


Below are all the Full Moon names, as well as the dates and times, for the next twelve months. Unless otherwise noted, all times are for the Eastern Time Zone.

Jan. 14, 4:48 a.m. EST: The Full Wolf Moon. Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. It was also known as the Old Moon or the “Moon after Yule.” In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next moon.

Feb. 12, 11:44 p.m. EST: The Full Snow Moon. Usually the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some tribes this was the Full Hunger Moon.

March 14, 6:35 p.m. EST: The Full Worm Moon. In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. In addition, a very minor penumbral lunar eclipse will take place on this night; the Moon will pass through the Earth’s outer and cause a slight tarnishing or smudginess to appear on its lower rim. The darkest phase of this eclipse comes at 6:48 p.m. EST. For about 40 minutes before and after this time, the subtle penumbral shading may be detected with binoculars and even the naked eye.

April 13, 12:40 p.m. EDT: The Full Pink Moon. The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and -- among coastal tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, when the shad came upstream to spawn. This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full Moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed three days later on Sunday, April 16.

May 13, 2:51 a.m. EDT: The Full Flower Moon. Flowers are abundant everywhere. It was also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

June 11, 2:03 p.m. EDT: The Full Strawberry Moon. Known to every Algonquin tribe. Europeans called it the Rose Moon.

July 10, 11:02 p.m. EDT: The Full Buck Moon, when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, thunderstorms being now most frequent. Sometimes also called the Full Hay Moon.

Aug. 9, 6:54 a.m. EDT: The Full Sturgeon Moon, when this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because the moon rises looking reddish through sultry haze, or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Sept. 7, 2:42 p.m. EDT: The Full Corn Moon. Corn – an Indian staple -- is now ready for gathering. The Moon will also be at perigee later this day, at 11:00 p.m., at a distance of 221,938 miles/357,175 km. from Earth. As such, this will be the biggest and brightest Full Moon of 2006. Very high tides can be expected from the coincidence of perigee with full Moon. In addition, a rather small (19%) partial lunar eclipse will be visible from Africa, Asia, Australia, and Eastern Europe. Maximum eclipse occurs at 18:51 GMT.

Oct. 6, 11:13 p.m. EDT: The Full Harvest Moon. Always the full Moon occurring nearest to the Autumnal Equinox. In one out of three years, it comes in October and 2006 is one of those years.

Nov. 5, 7:58 a.m. EST: The Full Beaver Moon. Time to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now active in their preparation for winter. Also called the Frosty Moon.

Dec. 4, 7:25 p.m. EST: The Full Cold Moon; among some tribes, the Full Long Nights Moon. In this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and the nights are at their longest and darkest. Also sometimes called the “Moon before Yule” (Yule is Christmas, and this time the Moon is only just before it). The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the Moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full Moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun.

Lunar cycles

Lastly, here are some interesting calendrical facts that the famed Belgian astronomical calculator Jean Meeus has compiled concerning the phases of the Moon.

All are cyclical, the most noteworthy being the so-called Metonic Cycle that was independently discovered by the Greek astronomer Meton (born about 460 B.C.). This is a 19 year cycle, after which time the phases of the Moon are repeated on the same days of the year, or approximately so.

For instance, there is a Full Moon on July 10, 2006. Nineteen years hence, in 2025 there’ll be another Full Moon on July 10. Another interesting cycle: after 2 years, the preceding lunar phase occurs on, or very nearly the same calendar date. Thus, in 2008, the First Quarter Moon will occur on July 10. After 8 years, the same lunar phases repeat, but occurring one or two days later in the year. The Greeks called this 8-year cycle the octaeteris. Indeed, in 2014, a Full Moon occurs on July 12.

Finally, in our Gregorian Calendar, 372 years provides an excellent long-period cycle for the recurrence of a particular phase on a given date. Thus, we know with absolute certainty that the same Full Moon that shines down on us on July 10 of 2006 will also be shining on July 10 in the year 2378.

Mark your calendars!

Top 10 Luna-Terms Full Moon Fever: Lunar News & Lore Moon Mechanics: What Really Makes Our World Go 'Round The Disappearing Moon: Why and Where it Hides Top 10 Cool Moon Facts
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

Visit SPACE.com for more space-related news including videos, launch coverage and interactive experiences. Explore our huge collection of Image Galleries, view our Image of the Day and Amazing Images. Follow the latest developments in the search for life in our universe in our SETI: Search for Life section. Join the community, sign up for our free daily email newsletter, listen to our Podcasts, and check out our RSS feeds today!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: An oblique look on the north lunar far west Reply with quote

An oblique look on the north lunar far west

European Space Agency
9 August 2006

This image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, provides an 'oblique' view of the lunar surface towards the limb, around the Mezentsev, Niepce and Merrill craters, on the far side of the Moon.


For the full article:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/SM.....QPE_0.html
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:54 am    Post subject: Back to the Moon Reply with quote

Back to the Moon
Emily Sohn

Dec. 13, 2006

Someday, you might be able to live on the moon.
In 2020, NASA plans to begin building a base on the moon, the space agency announced last week. The project should be finished by 2024. If you're 10 years old today, you'll be 28 then. So, if you train to be an astronaut, you could be one of the first to visit the lunar outpost.

Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon in 1969. At the time, he called it "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Space exploration has continued, but no one has set foot on the moon since 1972.

For the full article:

http://www.sciencenewsforkids....../Note2.asp
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:47 pm    Post subject: Probing NASA's plans for a lunar colony Reply with quote

Probing NASA's plans for a lunar colony
Chemical & Engineering News
5 February 2007

The success of NASA's plans for a permanent human outpost on the moon may depend on the availability of technology that exploits the moon's environment and natural resources to obtain essentials like electric power, according to an article scheduled for the Feb. 5 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN associate editor Susan R. Morrissey discusses the ongoing debate about the need for humans to return to the moon, the costs, the scientific benefits of a lunar base and whether it should be in the hands of NASA or private industry. If the project does move ahead, it may have to rely on technologies that utilize on-site resources to construct and sustain the base, the article notes.

At present, sponsors of the mission would face enormous per-kilogram costs for the solar cells and other gear that will have to be transported from Earth to the moon. Alternative approaches might avoid such sticker-shock, Morrissey notes. One proposal, for instance, calls for using the lunar rocks and the moon's intense vacuum to make photovoltaic cells on site. Another approach calls for placing long strips of solar cells on the lunar surface, creating a large-scale solar power installation that could provide megawatts of electricity for lunar colonists.

High-resolution color images of lunar missions are available from NASA at: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia.....index.html

ARTICLE # 5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Feb. 5, 2007
"NASA Prepares to Revisit the Moon: Agency sets ground work for human lunar outpost, but leaves cost and science objectives up in the air"

This story will be available on Feb. 5 at http://pubs.acs.org/cen/govern.....5gov1.html
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:09 pm    Post subject: Total Lunar Eclipse - March 3, 2007 Reply with quote

Total Lunar Eclipse - March 3, 2007
NASA

The entire event will be visible from Europe, Africa and western Asia. In eastern Asia, moonset occurs during various stages of the eclipse. For example, the Moon sets while in total eclipse from central China and southeast Asia. Western Australia catches part of the initial partial phases but the Moon sets before totality. Observers in eastern North and South America will find the Moon already partially or totality eclipsed at moonrise. From western North America, only the final penumbral phases are visible.

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/.....H2007.html
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Early Moon Photos Revealed More Than Was Known Reply with quote

Early Moon Photos Revealed More Than Was Known
By David Powell, Special to SPACE.com

posted: 14 May 2007 06:00 am ET

Newly reprocessed images of the Moon's far side taken by Soviet spacecraft more than 40 years ago may have confirmed that the Moon's biggest impact scar was glimpsed far earlier than previously thought.

The images were acquired by the Luna 3 and Zond 3 spacecraft in October 1959 and July 1965 respectively and provided the first look at the Moon's forever hidden far side.

The original murky and noisy images have now been re-processed by amateur astronomer Ricardo Nunes and add weight to a proposal by V.V. Shevchenko and V.I.Chikmachev of the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute in Moscow that a dark smudge visible on the Moon's limb in Luna 3 images is part of the western edge of the enormous South Pole-Aitken Basin (SPAB).

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/spa.....mages.html
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: The Truth Behind This Month's Blue Moon Reply with quote

The Truth Behind This Month's Blue Moon
By Joe Rao, SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist

posted: 25 May 2007 06:59 am ET

Thursday, May 31 brings us the second of two full Moons for North Americans this month. Some almanacs and calendars assert that when two full Moons occur within a calendar month, that the second full Moon is called the "Blue Moon."

The full Moon that night will likely look no different than any other full Moon. But the Moon can change color in certain conditions.

After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the Moon can appear to take on a bluish or even lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth's atmosphere can sometimes make the Moon appear bluish. Smoke from widespread forest fire activity in western Canada created a blue Moon across eastern North America in late September 1950. In the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991 there were reports of blue moons (and even blue Suns) worldwide.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/spa....._moon.html
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:39 am    Post subject: Saturday's Full Moon Offers Strange Illusion Reply with quote

Saturday's Full Moon Offers Strange Illusion
By Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer

posted: 29 June 2007 01:53 pm ET

This weekend's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full moon of 2007, according to NASA, and it's a good time to be fooled.

When low on the horizon, the Moon can appear to be larger than when it's higher in the sky. It's all an illusion, scientists say, and it does not involve any enlarging effects of the atmosphere. Rather, it's all in your mind.

Here's how it works:

Our brains think things on the horizon are farther away than stuff overhead, because we're used to seeing overhead clouds that are close compared to those on the horizon. In the mind's eye, the sky is a flattened dome.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/spa....._moon.html
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: Full Moon Sends More Dogs and Cats to Emergency Room Reply with quote

Full Moon Sends More Dogs and Cats to Emergency Room
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor

posted: 15 July 2007 12:38 pm ET

Injuries and illness among dogs and cats seems to be higher during full moon than at other times of the month, a new study finds. But researchers don't know why.

The study, reported in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, finds emergency room visits for these pets increases during or near the full moon. In studying 11,940 cases at the Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center, the researchers found the risk of emergency room visits to be 23 percent higher for cats and 28 percent higher for dogs on days surrounding full moons.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/ani....._pets.html
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:50 am    Post subject: Viewer's Guide: Tuesday Morning's Lunar Eclipse Reply with quote

Viewer's Guide: Tuesday Morning's Lunar Eclipse
By Joe Rao, SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist

posted: 24 August 2007 07:00 am ET

Tuesday morning, Aug. 28 brings us the second total lunar eclipse of 2007. Those living in the Western Hemisphere and eastern Asia will be able to partake in at least some of this sky show.

The very best viewing region for viewing this eclipse will fall across the Pacific Rim, including the West Coast of the United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and eastern Australia. All these places will be able to see the complete eclipse from start to finish.

Europeans will miss out on the entire show, as the Moon will be below the horizon during their mid and late morning hours.

http://www.livescience.com/spa.....lipse.html
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chang'e-1 - new mission to Moon lifts off
ESA

24 October 2007

A bold new mission to the Moon was launched today by the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). Chang’e-1 blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, Sichuan, atop a Long March 3A rocket.

For the full article:

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMPM53Z28F_index_0.html
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Earth's magnetic field could help protect astronauts working Reply with quote

University of Washington
11 December 2007

Earth's magnetic field could help protect astronauts working on the moon

It has been 35 years since humans last walked on the moon, but there has been much recent discussion about returning, either for exploration or to stage a mission to Mars. However, there are concerns about potential radiation danger for astronauts during long missions on the lunar surface.

A significant part of that danger results from solar storms, which can shoot particles from the sun to Earth at nearly the speed of light and can heat oxygen in the Earth's ionosphere and send it in a hazardous stream toward the moon.

Earth is largely protected by its magnetic field, or magnetosphere, but new University of Washington research shows that some parts of the moon also are protected by the magnetosphere for seven days during the 28-day orbit around Earth.

"We found that there were areas of the moon that would be completely protected by the magnetosphere and other areas that are not protected at all," said Erika Harnett, a UW assistant research professor of Earth and space sciences.

Solar energetic particles, which are generated during solar storms, carry enough energy to disrupt communications on Earth or even kill satellites in Earth orbit. During those same storms, particles from Earth's ionosphere, primarily oxygen, also can become significantly energized. Though they are not as powerful as solar energetic particles, they still pose a significant threat to astronauts working on the moon, or even en route to Mars.

Using computers to model properties of the magnetosphere, Harnett found that while solar storms can increase the danger from ionosphere particles hitting the moon they also trigger conditions in the magnetosphere that deflect many hazardous solar particles.

Particles with high enough energy can pass directly through a human without much damage, Harnett said, but particles packing slightly less oomph, though unfelt by a human, can lodge in a person. Typically it's not just one particle but many, and the accompanying radiation can damage cells, she said.

Some of the research is detailed in a poster being presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco, while other aspects are in a paper published last month in the online edition of Geophysical Research Letters. Robert Winglee, a UW Earth and space sciences professor, is co-author of the work, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

In the longest missions of NASA's Apollo Program, astronauts spent just a few days on the moon. The last mission, Apollo 17, was launched Dec. 7, 1972, landed on the moon on Dec. 11 and arrived back on Earth on Dec. 19.

"During Apollo, people were not on the moon for very long so there wasn't the concern about the radiation hazard to humans as there is with longer missions," Harnett said.

Today there is much greater understanding of the danger posed by solar energetic particles, particularly because of the adverse effects they can have on satellite communications during periods of intense solar flare activity.

"The problem is that we can't predict when this activity is going to take place so we can't warn astronauts to take shelter, so they could be vulnerable when the moon is outside the magnetosphere," Harnett said. "The particles travel near the speed of light, so when we see them generated on the sun's surface they will arrive in a few minutes and there is little time to react."

The new research could help determine when it is safe for astronauts to work far from a lunar base, she said. But she added that models used in the work suggest that energetic oxygen from Earth's ionosphere also poses a danger, even though it is less energetic than solar particles.

"It wouldn't kill someone instantly, but it definitely could increase the radiation exposure for an astronaut on the moon," Harnett said.

However, she noted that the danger from energetic oxygen could be overstated because the models do not take into account the positive electrical charge on the daylight side of the moon that likely would significantly slow the oxygen stream.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:47 pm    Post subject: Lunar liquid Reply with quote

Lunar liquid
By Ron Cowen
July 9th, 2008

Early on, the moon’s interior may have been as wet as Earth’s upper mantle


A new analysis of moon rocks has revealed that the moon isn’t as bone dry as researchers had thought, whetting the appetite of scientists who seek a deeper understanding of how Earth’s natural satellite arose and evolved.

For the full article:

http://sciencenews.org/view/ge.....nar_liquid
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