Big Boom On The Moon Is A Record Breaker.

A high-speed meteor impact on the surface of the moon on September 11th,  last year triggered the brightest lunar explosion ever seen, scientists say.

Record-Breaking Meteorite Crash on Moon Sparks Brightest Lunar Explosion Ever

Video of the impact shows a long flash that was almost as bright as Polaris. The meteorite’s lunar crash could be visible to anyone on Earth who happened to be staring up at the moon at 8:07 p.m. GMT.

Earth's history of meteorite strikes, in one awesome visualizationJose Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, witnessed the collision using two moon-watching telescopes in the south of Spain that are part of the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System, or MIDAS observatory.

The meteor’s speed of around 37,900 mph (61,000 km/h) created a new crater nearly 131 feet (40 meters) wide in Mare Nubium.  The meteor was about 880 lbs. (400 kg) and measured between 2 and 4.5 feet (0.6 and 1.4 meters) in diameter scientists estimate.

Luckily, a rock that size should only make a great bolide, but, depending on its composition, would normally not pose a threat because it would burn up in the atmosphere.  Since the moon doesn’t have any atmosphere, meteors hit it all the time leaving us traces of the past.

Personal note:  I disagree with a lot of article that are calling this a meteorite.  In order to be a meteorite, some of the meteor has to survive the impact, leaving pieces of itself behind.  No one know if anything survived this impact, so it would be presumptuous to call it a meteorite until all the facts are in.  Just the lawyer in me coming out a bit.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

I Wouldn’t Have Got a Lemon.

If the Moon hadn’t been spinning so fast in its infancy.  That is the latest theory as to why the Moon is shaped more like a lemon than a bulging beach ball.

At least so says a US team lead by Ian Garrick-Bethell, from the University of California Santa Cruz.  When the team calculated the effect on the shape of the early Moon, when it was mostly liquid beneath a thin outer crust of rock, the tidal and rotational forces made it lemon-like.

Prof Garrick-Bethell came up with this theory to check out after seeing data about Jupiter’s moon’s Europa. It also has a thin crust and an active inner core.

It is difficult to say that this is the exact cause of the Moon’s shape, because the Moon is probably now just a solid piece of rock since it cooled of millions of years ago. So the theory, while still good, will take a long time to verify.

First we need to build a Moon Base….we could name it Alpha!  P.S. I loved that show.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Evidence Of Theia Found On The Moon.

The early Solar system was a particularly violent place where lots of sizeable masses collided into each other until they formed the Sun and all the planets.

During this period our Moon was formed.  We know that the Earth doesn’t have the gravity to capture a planet the size of the Moon so there had to be another explanation.  The giant impact hypothesis states that the Moon was formed out of the debris left over from an indirect collision between the Earth and an astronomical body the size of Mars, approximately 4.5 Gya in the Hadean eon.  The theorized planet is named Theia.

In Greek mythology, Theia is the Titaness of sight and enlightenment one of the old gods before the Olympians.  She was also the mother of Selene, goddess of the Moon.  However, evidence of greek gods isn’t the evidence that scientists found.

Using lunar rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts scientists have found traces of the “planet” called Theia.  This has led them to conclude that the Moon was in fact created by the collision between the first Earth and the one we live on today.  Well, almost.

Earlier simulations had shown the Moon to have originated entirely from the Earth whereas computer simulations had shown that the Moon ought to have been mostly derived from Theia.  It turns out that neither one is exactly right.  So scientists will have to work on new theories of the origin of the Moon, but the evidence has tilted decidedly in favor of an impact forming the Moon.  They just have to figure out exactly how it happened.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Blood Moon Rising.

As I said yesterday, April is going to be a busy month.

 

File:Visibility Lunar Eclipse 2014-04-15.png

April 14-15 (depending on where in the world you are Carmen San Diego), a total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia, as well as North and South America.

Animation april 15 2014 lunar eclipse appearance.gif

It will be the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014, and the first of a tetrad (four total lunar eclipses in series), the other total eclipses will occur on October 8, April 8, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

Lunar eclipse chart close-2014Apr15.png

Once the Moon is in total eclipse, it looks red.  Hence the name Blood Moon.  However, this is normally how the Moon looks in total eclipse, so it doesn’t have anything to do with the doomsday prophecies running around the Internet.  Unfortunately, April has another doomsday prediction that I will discuss tomorrow.

Astronomy: Roen Kelly

What makes this total eclipse even more event worthy is the fact that Mars will appear right next to the Moon during its eclipse and should be spectacular as Mars is just coming out of its opposition with the Earth.

Time to break out the cameras or cellphone and take some images.  I will try to make some instructions for taking images of the Moon that should help anyone interested.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Why Don’t We Have Rings?

This is almost embarrassing.  Saturn has rings, Jupiter has rings, Uranus, Neptune all have rings…and now even some asteroids have rings.

File:Comparechariklo2.jpg

Scientists have discovered that the asteroid Chariklo, all 258km wide asteroid Chariklo, has a ring system (the graphic above is old, the 258km is correct).

Artist's impression of of Chariklo and rings

In fact Chariklo has at least two ring that were observed when it occulted a star recently.

Image credit Zane B. Stein

Chariklo is about 1AU inside the orbit of Uranus and is estimated to have an orbital half-life of about 10.3 Million years.

Moon

So the question still remains: Why doesn’t the Earth have rings.  Well, some believe that we can blame it on the Moon.  The gravitational interaction between the Earth and Moon would make any ring material unstable and, eventually, all the particles would fall to the surface of one or the other.  Dang you Moon!  I could have had a view that would have been spectacular!

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The Moon has Shrunk!

Look up in the sky tonight and you might notice something a little odd.

desert moon

The Moon isn’t quite as big as it normally appears.

That is because the Moon is at apogee, or the farthest from the Earth in its orbit.  The Moon will be at its current maximum distance of at 8:52 PM DST.  Normally, the Moon’s apogee varies from 404,000 to 406,700 kilometers, this month it is just shy (164 kilometers) from its maximum apogee.

Although the Moon regularly does this cycle once every 28 days or so, this one is interesting because it is a full Moon.  This is the opposite of the so called super Moons that are “15 times larger than normal.”  Not really, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people that believe this when they see it in the checkout stands.

So take a second to look as something small tonight…the Moon.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman